Brad Sturdy, Co-Host IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular
January 31, 2023
|ILLINOIS (15-6, 6-4) vs. Nebraska (10-12, 3-8)|
|Date | Time||Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 | 6 p.m. CT|
|Location||Champaign, Ill. | State Farm Center|
|Television||BTN (Dave Revsine & Stephen Bardo)|
|Live Stream||foxsports.com/live/btn | FOX Sports App|
|Radio||Busey Bank Illini Sports Network | Varsity Network App | SiriusXM 386, SXM App 976|
Winners of six of its last seven games, Illinois next hosts Nebraska on Tuesday night (6 p.m. CT, BTN). Illinois plays three of its next four games at home.
Illinois is 6-2 this January entering its final game of the month. Over the last four years, the Illini are 23-7 in January. Illinois has won six straight over Nebraska, its longest streak in the series since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten, and one shy of the Illini’s series record seven-game win streak from Jan. 3, 1921 through Dec. 11, 1976.
Illinois ranks 18th in kenpom adjusted defensive efficiency. The Illini excel nationally in a number of defensive categories, including a 14.8 block rate (10th), 44.6% effective field goal defense (13th), 31.7% two-point defense (9th), and 30.5 three-point attempt rate (17th). Illinois leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth in the country in blocked shots, averaging 6.0 bpg. The current Illini single-season blocks record is 5.4 bpg, set in 1979.
Illinois is averaging 73.0 points (438) while allowing just 59.3 points (356) in its six Big Ten wins, holding all six opponents below the 70-point mark. Illinois’ has won all six Big Ten game by at least nine points. Illinois has not topped 66 points in any of its Big Ten losses, averaging just 62.5 points while allowing opponents to score 74.5 points in those four games.
Illinois has outrebounded 17 of 21 opponents. The Illini rank second in the Big Ten and No. 28 in the NCAA with a 5.8 average rebound margin.
Terrence Shannon Jr. is one of two power conference players (Jalen Pickett, Penn State) – and one of just 15 players nationally – averaging at least 17 points, five rebounds, three assists and one steal on the season. Shannon ranks seventh in the Big Ten in scoring (17.4 ppg), first in free throws made (109) and second in attempts (139). At his current pace, Shannon is on track to enter the top five in school history for both free throws made and attempted in a season. Shannon averaged 20.0 points over a six-game stretch from Jan. 7-24, topping 20 points three times. He ranks sixth in the Big Ten with seven 20-point games this season. Shannon’s recent six-game double figure scoring streak was the longest of his career.
Matthew Mayer has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games, averaging 14.8 points (192). Mayer is coming off a career-high 26 points in Saturday’s win at Wisconsin. It was his third 20-point game this season and most points scored against the Badgers in league play. Mayer’s scoring spree included five straight games in double digits from Jan. 4-16, the longest streak of his career.
Dain Dainja is one of two players nationally (Rashaun Agee, Bowling Green) averaging at least 10 points, five rebounds and one block in 20 minutes per game. Dainja ranks 22nd nationally in 2-point field goal percentage at 69.8% (90-129). Dainja has made at least 60% from the field in 17 of 21 games. • Dainja ranks fifth in the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.4 bpg) and is averaging 2.1 blocks over the last nine games (19).
Freshman Jayden Epps has scored in double figures in eight of the last 10 games, averaging 10.6 points (106). • Epps is averaging 13.5 points during his last two games in the starting lineup (27). Epps has 12 assists with just five turnovers in 167 minutes over the last six games (2.4 a/to ratio).
Over the last two games, Coleman Hawkins has combined for 18 rebounds, eight assists, five blocks, and just one turnover in 71 minutes.
Illinois is 11-0 when shooting at least 45% from the field, and 12-1 when scoring at least 70 points.
Illinois is 10-0 when they have more assists than turnovers and 5-6 when they have more turnovers than assists.
The Huskers (10-12, 3-8 Big Ten) look to snap a three-game losing streak after an 82-63 loss at Maryland on Sunday. NU put together one of its best shooting days of the season, hitting 53 percent against a Maryland defense which was holding opponents to 41 percent shooting all season. Nebraska was within 59-50 with nine minutes remaining before a technical foul ignited Maryland's decisive 15-2 spurt to pull away.
A win on Tuesday at Illinois would allow the Huskers to exceed their win total from last season and match Nebraska's number of Big Ten wins from a year ago. It would also give Nebraska Head Coach Fred Hoiberg his 150th collegiate victory.
Sixth-year senior Derrick Walker is the only Husker who played in Nebraska's last trip to Illinois in 2021.
Prior to Saturday's loss at Maryland, Nebraska was 6-0 this season when shooting at least 50 percent 8 and had won eight straight games when shooting 50 percent or better dating back to last season.
Keys to the Game
1. Share It and Take Care of It - Illinois is 10-0 when they have more assists than turnovers. That means the ball is moving and players are sharing it, which means better shooting and the fewer turnovers means more shots.
2. Attention to Detail - Illinois has had a tendency to play down to thelevel of their opposition this season and not take certain games seriously. After winning big in Lincoln, this could be a trp game before they head to Iow acity on Saturday for a huge game.
3. Defensive Prowess - These are two very solid defensive teams, although Nebraska hasn't been quite as good of late. The Huckers have had some great defensive performances against Iowa, Creighton, Purdue and Ohio State, for example, but have also struggled offensively. When they score, they have won. The Huckers are 8-0 when they score more than 1.000 PPP. Ilinois is 18th in the country on Defensive efficiency, so if they guard well, they should win.
I like Illinois at home, 74-60 in a big game for Terrence Shannon.
|Illinois Probable Starters|
|G||3||Jayden Epps||6-2||190||Fr.||9.7||2.1||1.6||14 points vs Ohio State|
|G||0||Terrence Shannon Jr.||6-6||225||Sr.||17.4||5.4||3.0||20.0 ppg over last 6 games|
|G/F||24||Matthew Mayer||6-9||225||Gr.||11.3||4.9||1.1||13.8 ppg over last 12 games|
|F||33||Coleman Hawkins||6-10||225||Jr.||9.5||6.3||3.3||11 pts, 9 reb, 6 ast, 3 blk vs Ohio State|
|F||42||Dain Dainja||6-9||270||r-So.||10.0||5.9||0.5||11.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg over last 4 games|
|Off the Bench|
|G||1||Sencire Harris||6-4||160||Fr.||3.8||2.0||1.0||7.5 ppg in Minnesota & Indiana games|
|F||2||Connor Serven||6-9||235||Jr.||0.2||0.8||0.0||Academic All-Big Ten|
|G||5||AJ Redd||6-3||160||Fr.||0.0||0.0||0.0||Former manager now on roster|
|G||10||Luke Goode||6-7||200||So.||2.0||1.8||0.5||2021-22 stats; sidelined (foot injury)|
|G||11||Niccolo Moretti||6-1||160||Fr.||–||–||–||Joined team Jan. 26; will redshirt|
|C||12||Brandon Lieb||7-0||220||Jr.||1.3||1.2||0.2||4 pts in 12 min at Minnesota|
|G||15||RJ Melendez||6-7||205||So.||6.2||3.3||0.8||10 pts, 4 reb vs Indiana|
|G/F||20||Ty Rodgers||6-6||200||Fr.||2.0||3.2||0.9||6.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg over last 2 games|
|G||22||Paxton Warden||6-4||180||Fr.||0.2||0.0||0.0||First career FG at Minnesota|
|F||25||Zacharie Perrin||6-10||220||Fr.||0.0||0.0||0.0||Made first UI appearance vs Indiana|
|G||55||Skyy Clark||6-3||200||Fr.||7.0||3.7||2.1||Announced leave from team Jan. 6|
Career Record: 218-99 (.688), 10th year
At Illinois: 109-72 (.602), 6th year
Big Ten: 61-47 (.565)
All-Time Record: Illinois leads 20-8
Streak: Illinois W-6
Last Meeting: Illinois 76, Nebraska 50 (Jan. 10, 2023 at Lincoln)
Record at Champaign: Illinois leads 13-2
Streak at Champaign: Illinois W-4
Last Meeting at Champaign: #5 Illinois 86, Nebraska 70 (Feb. 25, 2021)
Underwood vs. Nebraska: 7-2
Illinois is the winningest team in the Big Ten over the last four seasons, registering a 50-20 mark in league play. The Illini won the regular season championship in 2022, led the conference in wins while adding a B1G Tournament crown in 2021, and finished one game back of the title in 2020:
Illinois also owns the most road wins during league play over the last four years with 23, five ahead of the next closest Big Ten team:
Illinois is one of seven teams in the country with multiple kenpom top-10 wins this season, defeating No. 3 UCLA on Nov. 18 in Las Vegas and No. 10 Texas on Dec. 6 at Madison Square Garden:
Illinois has three AP top-15 wins this season (No. 2 Texas, No. 8 UCLA and No. 14 Wisconsin), tied for fourth-most nationally:
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