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Indiana Basketball: Fighting Illini Players Who Will Give No. 1 Hoosiers Fits

Although Illinois is ranked towards the bottom in almost every offensive category, they still have a few players who could make a difference in their game tonight against Indiana.
Although Illinois is ranked towards the bottom in almost every offensive category, they still have a few players who could make a difference in their game tonight against Indiana.Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jonathan MunshawCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2013

The Illinois Illini enter their Thursday night showdown against the Indiana Hoosiers ranked 73rd in the country in points per game, 181st in rebounds per game and 307th in assists per game.

However, that doesn't mean that the Illini won't give the Hoosiers a run for their money, especially given Illinois' home court advantage.

If Illinois want to have a shot against Indiana, these three players are going to have to step up, and make Indiana fans in Assembly Hall feel uncomfortable tonight.

Brandon Paul

Outside of scoring, Paul doesn't have too many special skills. The Illini's senior guard averages more turnovers than he does assists per game, but does average 17.4 points per game. 

Indiana has been scored on before, giving up 88 points in their loss to the Butler Bulldogs and 81 to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, although the Hoosiers went on to win that game.

Paul has steadily improved every year he's been at Illinois, but has struggled with his shooting percentage this season, only shooting 41 percent from the floor. If Illinois wants to win this game, then their best chance will be getting the ball to Paul consistently and allowing Paul to put up some points.

Nnanna Egwu

The 6'11", 235 lbs. power forward/center is Illinois's leading rebounder and shot blocker.



While Egwu only averages just above six points per game, he gets about five rebounds per game and blocks at least one shot.

After Egwu, there isn't much rebounding ability on the Illini roster, considering how low they are in the national ranking in that category.

Rebounds will be important on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for Illinois, as Indiana has the second-highest scoring offense in the nation. If Illinois controls the ball, then that means that Indiana doesn't have an opportunity to score.

D.J. Richardson

Richardson might be the best overall player on the Illini roster, as he puts up decent numbers in almost every category.

The senior guard averages 11.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds, and shoots 82.7 percent from the free throw line.

He's been improving his shooting percentage over the course of the whole year, and if he shows up, along with Paul, the two of them could make a powerful one-two combination that could put them in contention with Indiana.

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