Illinois vs. Georgetown preview

Illinois vs. Georgetown preview

Georgetown at Illinois

7:30 p.m. today

Lineups

Illinois (1-0)

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Trent Frazier So. 6-1 10.0 Wellington, Fla.

G Ayo Dosunmu Fr. 6-5 18.0 Chicago

G Aaron Jordan Sr. 6-5 19.0 Plainfield

F Kipper Nichols R-Jr. 6-6 13.0 Cleveland

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili Fr. 6-9 7.0 Rustavi, GeorgiaFYI: The Illini will be even closer to full strength against the Hoyas, with freshman guard Alan Griffin (knee injury) and freshman center Samba Kane (suspension) available today after not playing in the season opener against Evansville.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Andres Feliz Jr. 6-2 16.0 Guachupita, D.R.

G Da'Monte Williams So. 6-3 8.0 Peoria

G Tevian Jones Fr. 6-7 8.0 Chandler, Ariz.

GEORGETOWN (2-0)

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G James Akinjo Fr. 6-0 10.5 Oakland, Calif.

G Mac McClung Fr. 6-2 6.0 Gate City, Va.

G Jamorko Pickett So. 6-8 11.5 Washington, D.C.

F Trey Mourning Gr. 6-9 9.5 Miami

F Jessie Govan Sr. 6-10 19.5 Queens Village, N.Y.FYI: Mourning, the son of former four-time Georgetown All-American and NBA All-Star and champion Alonzo Mourning, isn't the only Hoyas' big man with an NBA father. Junior forward George Muresan is the son of former Washington Bullets center Georghe Muresan.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Jahvon Blair So. 6-3 6.0 Brampton, Ont.

G Greg Malinowski Sr. 6-6 3.5 Chantilly, Va.

F Josh LeBlanc Fr. 6-7 7.5 Baton Rouge, La.

Details

Site: State Farm Center (15,544), Champaign.

Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Deon Thomas (analysis) will have the call on the Illini Sports Network on WDWS 1400-AM, WHMS 97.5-FM, WDAN 1490-AM, WDNL 102.1-FM and WPXN 104.9-FM.

TV:Justin Kutcher (play-by-play) and former Illini Stephen Bardo (analysis) will have the call on Fox Sports 1.

Series history: Illinois leads 4-1.

Last meeting: Illinois won 58-48 on Dec. 8, 2005, in Champaign.

FYI: Dee Brown's 16-point effort and James Augustine's double-double (10 points and 13 rebounds) helped Illinois grind out the win against a Georgetown team that featured future lottery picks Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. The Illini's national runner-up team beat the Hoyas a year prior by 15 in Washington, D.C.

Scott Richey's storylines

Close to a debut?

Adonis De La Rosa's gameday activities thus far ahead of Illinois' exhibition game against Illinois Wesleyan and season opener against Evansville have been restricted to relatively intense pregame workouts with graduate manager Grant Bale. The 7-footer is nearing his return, though, with Illini coach Brad Underwood putting his status as "to be determined" as far as availability today against Georgetown. "He's getting closer," Underwood said. "He's full speed in practice. He's got to continue to push through the layoff, and that's conditioning. The biggest thing is making sure that we put him on the court in a situation where he's healthy and that he can sustain. He's been impressive, he's doing some good things and he's working awfully hard."

Young guards

Georgetown's backcourt is actually younger than Illinois' given true freshmen James Akinjo and Mac McClung both start for the Hoyas. The hype coming in was on McClung, whose dunking exploits on YouTube and Instagram were only topped by Duke's Zion Williamson. Akinjo, though, is making more of an immediate impact averaging 10.5 points and seven assists through two games. "Akinjo's a tough sucker," Underwood said. "He's got great, great quickness. He's electric in transition. He gives them a different speed and gear."

On the opposing bench

Patrick Ewing's NBA career — at least the important parts with the New York Knicks — was mostly over before Giorgi Bezhanishvili was born. The Illinois freshman forward, though, does know who Ewing is. "He missed a big, big layup," Bezhanishvili said, referencing Ewing's last-second miss in Game 7 of the 1995 Eastern Conference finals against the Indiana Pacers. "I obviously know he was a great player — one of the best players ever, I think." Underwood is a year younger than Ewing and went to some of the same basketball camps as the future No. 1 NBA draft pick. "I know he's got a few thousand more points than I do," Underwood joked. "You're talking about one of the elite players in the history of the game. The guy is obviously a Hall of Famer. His impact on his team has become very evident. This is a tough, big, physical basketball team."

Prediction: Illinois 81, Georgetown 77

The challenge for the Illini will be in slowing down a bigger, productive Georgetown frontcourt. That's an awful lot to put on Kipper Nichols and Bezhanishvili's shoulders. This game would be the perfect time for the Illinois guards, though, to prove what Underwood regularly says is true that the Illini's best post defense is their perimeter defense. As in not letting the Hoyas' big men get the ball easily inside. (N-G prediction record: 1-0)

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