Date: Sunday, February 18th
Time: 2:30pm CST
Location: Champaign, IL
Last Meeting: Nebraska 64 Illinois 63 on January 15th
Current Record: 12-15 (2-12 Big Ten)
First year head coach Brad Underwood is still having transitional pains with his team. They’re currently 2 and 12 in the Big Ten and sitting dead last in the conference. Out of their last four games of the season they might be picked to beat one, Rutgers. That game is at Piscataway so who knows what could happen there. The Scarlet Knights have shown some resemblance of life this season. The Illini however, have not.
The last time the Huskers saw the Illini it was in Lincoln and it was not pretty. Neither team played well and it was the last-second heroics of James Palmer Jr. that saved the day for the Big Red. His three pointer at the buzzer gave the Huskers a 64-63 victory.
Since then Illinois has gone 2-6 with wins over Indiana and Rutgers. The later being the one team to fight Illinois for the bottom of the Big Ten. Neither of their wins were overly impressive and Indiana won the rematch on February 14th by 10 points.
They’re still doing okay on offense but struggle at the three point line. Closing in to the near bottom of the conference at 31.6% from beyond the arch. This will go well for Nebraska as the Huskers currently lead the conference in 3 point defense at 31.5%. Expect to see Illinois go in for points because of this. It could be the only way they get points on the board.
The Illini also still struggle on defense. They currently rank 12th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten in scoring defense. They are also hurting in rebounding but are doing better than the Big Red which has been no surprise as Nebraska has been at the bottom or near in defensive rebounding all season.
At this point in time we have the Huskers surging and the Illini seeing to want to get this season over with. Even with it being in Champaign, I like the Huskers chances on the road. Barring some unforeseen circumstances Nebraska will roll. There will not be any late game heroics as they will not be needed.
University of Nebraska 78 University of Illinois 67