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Nicholls State at Illinois, 7 p.m. today

Lineups

Illinois

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPGG

Andres Feliz Sr. 6-2 8.3G Trent Frazier Jr. 6-2 13.7

G Ayo Dosunmu So. 6-5 13.8

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili So. 6-9 12.5

C Kofi Cockburn Fr. 7-0 14.8

FYI: Dosunmu had a breakout season opener last year in his Illinois debut. The Chicago native put up 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in the Illini’s 99-60 win against Evansville.

Off the bench

G Da’Monte Williams Jr. 6-3 3.4G Alan Griffin So. 6-5 2.8

F Kipper Nichols R-Sr. 6-6 5.7

*Scoring averages from 2018-19 season

NICHOLLS STATE

Starters

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG

G Kevin Johnson Jr. 6-0 10.5

G Dexter McClanahan% R-Sr. 6-4 15.6

G/F Brandon Moore Jr. Sr. 6-5 8.6

F Elvis Harvey Jr. Sr. 6-8 6.5

F/C Ryghe Lyons Jr. 6-10 3.4

FYI: The Colonels were picked to finish 11th in the Southland Conference in the league’s preseason poll. They went 14-17 overall and 7-11 in the conference last year in coach Austin Claunch’s first season.

Off the bench

G Jeremiah Buford Jr. 6-5 3.5

F Jaylen Fornes Sr. 6-3 7.2

G D’Angelo Hunter^ R-Sr. 6-7 1.5

*Scoring averages from 2018-19 season

%Last played in 2017-18 at Savannah State

^Last played in 2017-18 at West Virginia

Details

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 WXPN 104.9-FM.

Online: Stream available on BTN Plus (subscription).

Series history: First meeting.

FYI: Illinois coach Brad Underwood went a perfect 3-0 against Nicholls State when he was at Stephen F. Austin. His Lumberjacks teams’ margin of victory in those games averaged just more than 26 points. Underwood’s Stephen F. Austin teams lost just once in three years in Southland Conference action.

Scott Richey’s storylines

Seven seconds or less

Illinois put up 83 points in its exhibition win last Friday against Division II Lewis. The final outcome of that game doesn’t mean much in the long run. Junior guard Trent Frazier called it a “warmup getting us prepared for a real game (Tuesday).” Still, the Illini were able to work on executing their game against the Flyers and see what they had to fix before facing Nicholls State. Practices this weekend and Monday morning included making the offense flow better. “Our exhibition game, we didn’t have our six-second transition and the speed we wanted,” Frazier said. “It wasn’t precise. We had to fix that these last couple days”

Dangerous duo

Kofi Cockburn and Giorgi Bezhanishvili combined for 28 points on 13 of 19 shooting (68 percentº against Lewis. The Illini big men worked a high-low game most of their time together, rotating spots between the high and low post, and did so frequently. “Sometimes a little too much,” Bezhanishvili said. “We were forcing it a little bit. We scored a lot of points through high-low, me and Kofi. Then a lot of help came, and the defense was collapsing inside. Now we’ve got to look — really make a right read — and not just force it inside. When we see guys come to the corners, kick it out to the corner and just play smart basketball.”

High pressure

The way Nicholls State plays defensively shouldn’t shock Illinois. The Colonels’ “up the line, on the line” style, as Illini coach Brad Underwood described it, is similar to what he likes to run. The Illinois players should be used to that. “They try to take everything away,” Underwood said. “They’ll run and jump you. They’ll press you. They try to turn it into a very athletic game. We’ve got to be very disciplined. We’ve got to be ball tough. Sometimes, it’s not the prettiest game in the world when you play a team like this. You’ve just got to go make basketball plays.”

Prediction: Illinois 85,Nicholls State 69

The balance of talent leans heavily in the Illini’s favor. Limiting turnovers and avoiding the slow start they had to overcome in the exhibition game should help make sure the scale doesn’t tip the Colonels’ direction. (N-G prediction record: 0-0)