Illinois vs. Minnesota: Full Game Preview
|Illinois||B Paul 17.6||N Egwu 4.8||T Abrams 3.3|
|Minnesota||A Hollins 14.0||T Mbakwe 8.7||A Hollins 3.5|
On Sunday, Illinois heads to Williams Arena to take on No. 18 Minnesota. It starts at 6 p.m. EST and you can see it on Big Ten Network. The Fighting Illini lost to the Golden Gophers 84-67 on Jan. 9 and are 3-4 against them over the last four years.
Illinois is in 10th place in the Big Ten and Minnesota is in sixth. Both teams continue to fight for position.
The 23 points by D.J. Richardson helped the Fighting Illini to a 74-72 victory over Indiana on Feb. 7. He tallies 12.3 points per game in addition to a team-best 1.6 steals per game. The Golden Gophers were defeated by Michigan State 61-50 on Feb. 6 despite 9 points and 14 rebounds from Trevor Mbakwe. With 8.7 rebounds per game and 1.7 blocks per game, he has team-best marks in both categories. Areas of strength for Minnesota include: offensive rebounding percentage at 46.3 percent and free throw rate at 42.9 percent.
- AP voters think more highly of Illinois and ranked them in the AP Top 25 more often over the past 10 years than Minnesota (116 vs. 40).
- Illinois has more NCAA Tournament appearances over the last 10 years than Minnesota (seven vs. three).
- Illinois has an average margin of victory of 13 over Minnesota in 43 wins since 1980.
- Illinois has a much better NCSA Academic Ranking than Minnesota (No. 39 vs. No. 61).
- Minnesota has to pay up to win. The coach for Illinois has a much lower base salary than Minnesota ($1,500,000 vs. $1,861,000).
- Illinois has a much higher 4-year graduation rate than Minnesota according to Kiplinger (64 percent vs. 41 percent).
- D.J. Richardson is ranked 3rd in the Big Ten in three-pointers and 5th in the Big Ten in steals.
- Illinois has more Final Four appearances over the last 10 years than Minnesota (one vs. zero).
- Illinois has more NCAA Tournament wins over the last 10 years than Minnesota (10 vs. zero).
- Nnanna Egwu is ranked 6th in the Big Ten in blocks.
- The Illinois scoring leader (Brandon Paul, 422 points) has more points than the Minnesota scoring leader (Andre Hollins, 323 points).