Preview: Illinois vs. Michigan, 7 p.m. today

Preview: Illinois vs. Michigan, 7 p.m. today


Illinois (4-11, 0-4 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Trent Frazier So. 6-1 14.9 Wellington, Fla.

G Ayo Dosunmu Fr. 6-5 12.9 Chicago

G Aaron Jordan Sr. 6-5 9.5 Plainfield

F Kipper Nichols R-Jr. 6-6 8.5 Cleveland

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili Fr. 6-9 10.1 Rustavi, Georgia

FYI: Illinois tied its season high in free throw attempts in Sunday's two-point loss at Northwestern. The Illini were 22 of 27 against the Wildcats, making one fewer than they did in their early December loss to Ohio State in Chicago. Da'Monte Williams led the way Sunday, going 8 of 10 at the line, while Ayo Dosunmu was 6 of 7.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Da'Monte Williams So. 6-3 4.7 Peoria

C Adonis De La Rosa Gr. 7-0 3.3 The Bronx, N.Y.

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

No. 2 MICHIGAN (15-0, 4-0)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Zavier Simpson Jr. 6-0 7.1 Lima, Ohio

G Jordan Poole So. 6-5 14.1 Milwaukee

G Charles Matthews R-Sr. 6-6 14.2 Chicago

F Ignas Brazdeikis Fr. 6-7 16.0 Oakville, Ont.

C Jon Teske Jr. 7-1 7.5 Medina, Ohio

FYI: Jordan Poole is actually leading the Wolverines in scoring during Big Ten play, averaging 17.8 points and shooting 45 percent from three-point range against conference opponents only. Poole's simply been a steady offensive option for the unbeaten Wolverines, putting up between 15 and 21 points in those four games.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Eli Brooks So. 6-1 3.9 Spring Grove, Pa.

F Brandon Johns Jr. Fr. 6-8 1.4 East Lansing, Mich.

F Austin Davis R-So. 6-10 1.6 Onsted, Mich.


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

Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Doug Altenberger (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: Joe Davis (play-by-play) and Bill Raftery (analysis) will have the call on Fox Sports 1.

Series history: Illinois leads 87-84.

Last meeting: Michigan won 79-69 on Jan. 6, 2018, in Ann Arbor, Mich., for its third win in a row.

FYI: The Wolverines have dominated the series this decade, winning 13 of 17 games since 2010. Illinois' last win came on Jan. 21, 2017, in a 16-point victory in Champaign. Six different Illini hit double figures, with Maverick Morgan leading the way with 16 points against what he would go on to call a "white collar" Michigan team.

Scott Richey's storylines

Nice to see you, State Farm Center

Today's game is Illinois' first at home in the Big Ten after the Dec. 5 game against Ohio State was moved to Chicago. The Illini are ready to be back at State Farm Center and are embracing the challenge of that first conference home game coming against one of the top teams in the country. "We have the No. 2 team in here (today)," sophomore guard Trent Frazier said. "It's going to be a great atmosphere. I'm excited to come out here and play in front of this packed crowd and just get a chance to knock them off. I think we're ready. These younger guys are super excited to get their frist real, you know, home game with one of the best teams in the country." Better execution will be necessary against the Wolverines — something Illinois built on in small doses last week in losses at Indiana and Northwestern. "We have to come out with a mindset where we've got to be super hungry," Frazier said. "I think this game we're going to need all 40 minutes played hard."

Holding their heads high

The Illini will take a four-game overall losing streak into today's game along with their four-game Big Ten losing streak. That hasn't deflated their confidence, however. "We're still walking with our head high and knowing that we can compete," fifth-year center Adonis De La Rosa said. "Early in the season we had Gonzaga and gave them a run. I feel like we fell a little bit away from that, but we found who we were and we're actually getting back to that now."

Beware of simpson

Illinois coach Brad Underwood first faced Michigan in the 2017 NCAA tournament in his lone season at Oklahoma State. The Wolverines won 92-91, and Underwood was hired at Illinois the next day. What stands out to Underwood about that game looking back on it now is Michigan guard Zavier (then Xavier) Simpson played just 2 minutes. "It's quite remarkable because I think Zavier Simpson is their MVP, and in the NCAA tournament two years ago he couldn't get on the court," Underwood said. "I think that speaks volumes to (Michigan coach John Beilein) and his assistants and their staff and their program and their system about their improvement of players. He's having a tremendous year. Obviously, the surroudning pieces get a lot of attention, but I've been very impressed with him on both ends."

Prediction: No. 2 Michigan 83, Illinois 71

The Illinois team that lost at Indiana and Northwestern was better than the one that lost at Nebraska and to Ohio State. Is it enough improvement to upset the Wolverines, though? (N-G prediction record: 11-4)