Beat writer Marcus Jackson tries to get back to .500 in his Maui Invitational forecasting:
Illinois 83, Chaminade 66
(9:30 p.m., ESPN2)
The Silverswords, the annual participant in this event, are playing with a lot of confidence after knocking off Texas on Monday.
But, so are the Illini who appear to be ahead of schedule in terms of learning their new system under first-year coach John Groce. Having things figured out was a concern of the coaching staff entering the trip to Hawaii.
“When you’re playing in a tournament like this with three games in three days against great competition, you can get exposed in certain areas where our system is not rock solid yet,” Groce said. “That’s going to be good for our team, especially going forward.”
You know what else is good for the program?
Matching up against either North Carolina or Butler on Thanksgiving Eve on ESPN for the championship game of one of the most-recognized early season tournaments in the sport, which is what should happen after Tuesday’s game
against the Division II team from Honolulu. (N-G prediction record 3-1).