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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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
PREDICTION: Indiana 82, Illinois 66
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