Preview: Illinois at Indiana

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[January 07, 2017]  The first two months of the season have shown that Indiana has the ability to beat some of the best teams in the nation and lose to others it was expected to handle. The 25th-ranked Hoosiers look to end a three-game losing streak and record their first Big Ten victory of the campaign in the third try at home when they host Illinois on Saturday afternoon.

Indiana posted victories against No. 2 Kansas and No. 16 North Carolina in November, but started the conference season with losses to Nebraska and No. 11 Wisconsin - sandwiching a setback versus No. 9 Louisville in Indianapolis. “The fight in us has to be better,” Hoosiers sophomore forward Juwan Morgan told reporters. “In (Kansas and North Carolina), you saw a full 40-minute fight. You might have seen a mistake here or there, but we never let them stack together. I think that’s really what it is.” Illinois has won seven of eight games after rebounding from a rout at Maryland that opened its league slate to edge Ohio State 75-70 on Sunday. Fighting Illini senior guard Malcolm Hill had 20 points in that victory and stood second in the Big Ten in scoring (18.7) entering Friday.

TV: 5 p.m. ET, ESPNU

ABOUT ILLINOIS (11-4, 1-1 Big Ten): Hill has scored at least 20 points in eight games this season, including three straight coming into Saturday, and owns a team-high 31 makes from behind the arc. Senior guard Tracy Abrams, who is second on the team in scoring (11.5), and sophomore backcourt mate Jalen Coleman-Lands (8.1) combine with Hill for 90 of Illinois’ 118 made 3-pointers. Sophomore forward Leron Black averages 10.5 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds after hauling in a career-high 15 boards in the home-court victory over Ohio State.

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 ABOUT INDIANA (10-5, 0-2): The Hoosiers, who also lost to Fort Wayne and No. 18 Butler, turned the ball over 19 times in the loss to Nebraska and shot 32.2 percent from the field against Louisville before giving up the first 13 points in a 75-68 loss to Wisconsin. Leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. (16.8) has struggled during the losing streak, going 11-of-31 from the floor while posting 32 points combined. Fellow junior guard Robert Johnson (13.7 points) missed 12 of 13 shots versus Louisville while sophomore forward OG Anunoby (11.9) is 10-for-14 the last two.


1. Indiana has won four straight in the series, taking both last season by a combined 61 points.

2. The Hoosiers were shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range before making just 9-of-36 from behind the arc the last two games.

3. Illinois' senior C Maverick Morgan is averaging 8.9 points and shooting 58.2 percent from the field - 24-for-40 the last five games.

PREDICTION: Indiana 82, Illinois 66

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