UI grade at Minnesota: A-
Player of the Game
Nnanna Egwu, Illinois
Fresh off a 14-rebound game against Ohio State, the big guy dominated the Gophers on the glass and defensively. He pulled down 11 rebounds and swatted away four shots. And to make sure we were paying attention, he added 14 points. Play like that every game and he’ll be an All-American.
Illinois C+, Minnesota F
Hard to believe the Illini won with Rayvonte Rice missing six of seven shots from the field. After getting in early foul trouble, Gophers junior Deandre Mathieu was dreadful. He was 1 for 5 from the field with three turnovers. And he fouled out. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
Illinois B, Minnesota D+
Egwu’s big night extended to the free throw line, where he hit all four shots. The Gophers received very little production from the inside guys. Egwu got in their heads early.
Illinois D, Minnesota C-
Jon Ekey was the only Illini sub to score. Joseph Bertrand had two rebounds but was held scoreless. The Illini need him to play the way he did earlier in the season. Maurice Walker tried to keep the Gophers in the game with 10 points.
Illinois A-, Minnesota D
The Illini are back on track for the NIT. They need to win one of their last four to finish the regular season above .500. Minnesota’s NCAA hopes took a major hit. It loses major points with the committee after a home clunker to a struggling team.