Beat author Scott Richey could have updates all through the evening as Illinois takes on Maryland, and full protection on-line proper right here at IlliniHQ.com after the sport. Maintain following:
A couple of extra notes earlier than the sport …
– Illinois’ 5-1 Massive Ten report is one of the best begin to this system for the reason that 2004-05 season when the Illini gained their first 15 convention video games.
– The Illini are on a nine-game successful streak at State Farm Heart. That streak consists of six straight wins in opposition to opponents from the Massive Ten, which is their longest streak of dwelling wins within the convention since successful six in a row from February 7, 2013 to January four, 2014.
– Illinois Basketball (@IlliniMBB) January 11, 2021
– Illinois at present ranks sixth in adjusted offensive effectivity in KenPom’s scores. That is the best for this system for the reason that 2004-05 nationwide runners-up had offense quantity Three.
The Illini have additionally improved to No. 17 in tight defensive effectivity, which is the best since ending at No. 14 within the 2013-14 season.
– Ayo Dosunmu stays the one participant within the nation with a mean of at the very least 20 factors (22.Three factors per recreation), 5 rebounds (6.Eight rpg) and 5 assists (5.1 factors per recreation). The junior guard is without doubt one of the high All-American candidates.
– Kofi Cockburn’s eight double-doubles have him tied at 4 for the NCAA lead with Malachi Smith of Chattanooga, Terry Taylor of Austin Peay and Charles Bassey of Western Kentucky. Illini’s sophomore heart has 5 double-doubles in six Massive Ten video games and is averaging 20 factors (70.Eight p.c taking pictures) and 11.Three rebounds in convention video games.
Some breaking information on the switch entrance. Based on CBS Sports activities’ Jon Rothstein, West Virginia ahead Oscar Tshiebwe will apparently switch to Kentucky. In varied experiences, Illinois additionally participated together with Miami and NC State.
The truth that the Illini didn’t have an open fellowship for Tshiebwe at the moment made it unlikely that she would find yourself in Champaign. Definitely an attention-grabbing flip of occasions merely due to the truth that Illinois is now Zero-for-2 in hiring Tshiebwe after dropping him in highschool.
Sources: West Virginia Switch Oscar Tshiebwe has formally dedicated to Kentucky.
– Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 10, 2021
And now, some pre-game observations …
– Adam Miller did a fairly spectacular spherical of ball dealing with drills. Utilizing two balls. The management he had of each balls in comparison with how a lot I can management one is barely a small cause why he’s the Division I athlete and I’m writing about him.
– In fact, Andre Curbelo continued along with his work dealing with tennis balls. Spectacular as all the time.
– The middle of Maryland, Chol Marial, could be very tall (7ft 2) and in addition VERY slim (235lbs). In fact, that weight is the one on the listing. I might be shocked if it wasn’t nearer to 215.
Regardless, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon instructed reporters Saturday that Marial would play (he hasn’t performed that a lot this season). Principally, the Terps are going to throw Marial to the wolves. Wolves being a wolf, truly, in Kofi Cockburn. Until Marial can use his size to harass Cockburn, the sheer physique of central Illinois may very well be an enormous benefit.
– Illinois wears his typical white jerseys. Maryland is pink on the freeway.
Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk made his 2020-21 debut on Thursday evening in Evanston. At the very least technically. The 6-foot-Eight, red-shirted freshman ahead had a single minute of “motion” within the closing minute of the sport.
The place Bosmans-Verdonk matches in proper now’s a query. His harm was a setback. It allowed freshman Coleman Hawkins to leap him up the facility ahead hierarchy. And Illinois coach Brad Underwood principally going with a seven-man rotation (with Hawkins or Jacob Grandison getting the nod from the eighth man at instances) has labored.
The Illini are 9-Three with all three losses to groups that certified (Baylor and Rutgers) or certified quickly after (Missouri). The Illini are No. 5 on the NET, No. 6 on KenPom and No. 12 on the AP Prime 25.
The seven-man rotation is working. Minutes for Bosmans-Verdonk can be laborious to come back by.
All that to say that I stay intrigued by the Belgian ahead. She has seemed good since she got here to campus final summer season. We’ve not but had an opportunity to see if he can play the half as properly.
Who’s excited for some Illinois basketball on Sunday evening?
It is sort of a giant recreation for the Illini. Not for the truth that it is a showdown between the Massive Ten, not with Maryland truly struggling proper now, however due to what it will imply heading into a brand new week.
Illinois can not usurp Michigan’s place because the chief of the Massive Ten. The Wolverines are undefeated. What Illini can do, nonetheless, is create a little bit separation for himself from the remainder of the contenders. A win in opposition to the Terrapins would put Illinois an entire recreation forward of Iowa and Wisconsin.
Contemplating that the margin for the Massive Ten championship within the common season can be very small, each win is essential.
– Illinois Basketball (@IlliniMBB) January 10, 2021
A win tonight at State Farm Heart would even be the fifth in a row after Illinois dispatched Northwestern on Thursday in a wild recreation to maintain the streak going. Everybody is aware of the story. Down 15 at halftime. He took the Wildcats off the courtroom within the closing 20 minutes.
Illinois is unlikely to once more beat one other opponent by 40 factors in a single half. It is clearly attainable, but it surely falls extra on the unlikely aspect of the ledger.
That mentioned, there are positives to attract from that second-half effort at Evanston and apply going ahead. How you can get Kofi Cockburn to play with the correct amount of vitality and energy each time. How you can get out in transition. How you can do performs.
Illinois coach Brad Underwood mentioned Saturday he is all the time searching for the “excellent” recreation. Onerous to come back by, and even for a coach who says he has extra glass half empty, what Illini did within the second half at Northwestern was principally that.
Are you able to do it once more? Or come nearer. As a result of let’s be trustworthy … even 80-85 p.c of that second half at Northwestern is nice sufficient to beat most groups.