Tussle in the Windy City: No. 19 Ohio State

Tussle in the Windy City: No. 19 Ohio State

Illinois vs. Ohio State

6 p.m. today


Illinois (2-8, 0-1)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Trent Frazier So. 6-1 14.7 Wellington, Fla.

G Ayo Dosunmu Fr. 6-5 13.1 Chicago

G Andres Feliz Jr. 6-2 6.8 Guachupita, D.R.

G Aaron Jordan Sr. 6-5 11.1 Plainfield

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili Fr. 6-9 10.0 Rustavi, Georgia

FYI: Forcing 16 Nebraska turnovers on Sunday further cemented the Illini at No. 7 nationally in defensive turnover percentage. Illinois' overall defensive efficiency, however, ranks Brad Underwood's team 121st.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Da'Monte Williams So. 6-3 5.0 Peoria

F Kipper Nichols R-Jr. 6-6 7.9 Cleveland

C Adonis De La Rosa Gr. 7-0 2.6 Bronx, N.Y.

No. 19 Ohio state (7-1, 1-0)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G CJ Jackson Sr. 6-1 13.3 Charlotte, N.C.

G Keyshawn Woods Gr. 6-3 7.0 Gastonia, N.C.

G Andre Wesson Jr. 6-6 8.1 Westerville, Ohio

F Kyle Young So. 6-8 7.9 Canton, Ohio

C Kaleb Wesson So. 6-9 14.5 Westerville, Ohio

FYI: Woods, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest, played against Illinois last season in the Demon Deacons' 80-73 victory in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. He finished with seven points and three rebounds off the bench.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Duane Washington Jr. Fr. 6-3 8.8 Grand Rapids, Mich.

G Musa Jallow So. 6-5 3.6 Bloomington, Ind.

F Jaedon LeDee Fr. 6-9 6.0 Houston


Site: United Center (20,917), Chicago.

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: Dave Revsine (play-by-play) and Robbie Hummel (analysis) will have the call on BTN.

Series history: Illinois leads 105-77.

Last meeting: Ohio State won 75-67 on Feb. 4, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.

FYI: Ohio State has the upper hand in the series since the turn of the century. The Buckeyes have won 22 of their last 34 games against Illinois, including eight of the last 10. The Illini did win the last time the two teams played in Chicago with a 72-59 victory to claim the 2003 Big Ten tournament championship.

Scott Richey's storylines


Ohio State's Keita Bates-Diop broke out in a big way in the 2017-18 season. The Normal U-High product returned from the leg injury that cost him most of the previous year to average 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds and earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors. Now, Bates-Diop plays for the Iowa Wolves in the NBA G League after being a second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Buckeyes are ... 7-1 and still a top 25 team. Illinois coach Brad Underwood said Ohio State's success this year is driven by C.J. Jackson and Kaleb Wesson. "They've got a really good point and a very good center, and then they fill in with nice pieces," Underwood said. "All those guys are playing in their roles, and even though they're a little bit different than when they had Keita and when they had (Ja'Sean Tate) they've adjusted nicely."


Underwood has been careful this season with how much playing time his players get after picking up two fouls in the first half. Two fouls in the first 20 minutes has typically meant some extended time on the bench. Underwood has had to manage that playing time a little more this season with Illinois ranking 335th nationally at 22.9 fouls per game. It's of particular concern with freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili, who has struggled with foul trouble all season and is both one of the Illini's most consistent offensive weapons, but is also committing 6.7 fouls per 40 minutes. That's second on the team only to fifth-year senior center Adonis De La Rosa (8.8 fouls per 40). Kipper Nichols (6.1 fouls per 40) and Andres Feliz (5.8 fouls per 40) have also struggled. "That's trust," Underwood said about leaving a guy on the court with two first-half fouls. "It's been a long time since I've trusted a guy — since probably Thomas Walkup (at Stephen F. Austin) — to play with two. You get a third one, and you're really hamstrung for the second half."


Today's game won't be Aaron Jordan's last in Chicago. Illinois will be back at the United Center for the Big Ten tournament. But the senior guard and Plainfield native is going to cherish each opportunity he gets to play even closer to home. "It's going to be great," Jordan said. "A lot of history in that building. A lot of Illinois fans are going to be there. ... I've been doing it for four years, so this being my last one it means a lot."

Prediction: No. 19 Ohio State 73, Illinois 69

Playing a "home" game away from home has Illinois a six-point underdog against the Buckeyes. Ohio State has been successful away from Columbus with wins at Cincinnati and Creighton. Illinois will need to foul less, turn the ball over fewer times and run a more efficient offense to hand the Buckeyes their first loss away from Value City Arena. (N-G prediction record: 5-3)