|Minnesota||A Hollins 13.9||T Mbakwe 8.7||A Hollins 3.4|
|Illinois||B Paul 16.6||N Egwu 4.6||T Abrams 3.4|
Illinois matches up against Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at United Center on Thursday. It starts at 12 p.m. ET and you can catch it on Big Ten Network. The Fighting Illini beat the Golden Gophers 57-53 on Feb. 10 and are 4-4 against them over the last four years.
The Fighting Illini fell 68-55 to Ohio State on Mar. 10. Brandon Paul finished with 21 points and five rebounds in the loss. With 16.6 points per game, he leads the team in scoring average. For the Golden Gophers, Andre Hollins put up 24 points and nine assists in the 89-73 loss to Purdue on Mar. 9. He leads the team in points with 13.9 per game and assists with 3.4 per game. One category in which Minnesota is especially proficient is offensive rebounding percentage at 44.3, ranking first in their conference (and third nationally).
- Illinois has more NCAA Tournament appearances over the last 10 years than Minnesota (seven vs. three).
- Illinois is better under pressure, and has defeated Minnesota in five out of the last eight games decided by five points or fewer.
- Nnanna Egwu is ranked 5th in the Big Ten in blocks.
- 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).
- Over the past 10 years, Illinois has had more players drafted by the NBA than Minnesota (six vs. two).
- Illinois has a much higher 4-year graduation rate than Minnesota according to Kiplinger (64 percent vs. 41 percent).
- The Illinois assist leader (Tracy Abrams, 109 assists) has more assists than the Minnesota assist leader (Andre Hollins, 107 assists).
- Since 1998, Illinois has recruited more Top 50 high school players than Minnesota (11 vs. six).
- The Illinois basketball team finishes what they start, with a better graduation rate than Minnesota (100 percent vs. 42 percent).