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Illinois (12-20)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Trent Frazier So. 6-1 13.8 Wellington, Fla.

G Ayo Dosunmu Fr. 6-5 13.9 Chicago

G Da'Monte Williams So. 6-3 3.4 Peoria

G Aaron Jordan Sr. 6-5 8.1 Plainfield

F Giorgi Bezhanishvili Fr. 6-9 12.6 Rustavi, Georgia

FYI: The race for the Illinois scoring title got interesting Wednesday night in Chicago. Frazier's 21-point game against Northwestern pulled him just four points behind Dosunmu, who is trying to become the first freshman to lead the Illini in scoring.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Andres Feliz Jr. 6-2 8.5 Guachupita, D.R.

G Alan Griffin Fr. 6-5 2.8 Ossining, N.Y.

F Kipper Nichols R-Jr. 6-6 5.8 Cleveland

Iowa (21-10)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Jordan Bohannon Jr. 6-1 11.8 Marion, Iowa

G Isaiah Moss R-Jr. 6-5 9.1 Chicago

G Joe Wieskamp Fr. 6-6 11.0 Muscatine, Iowa

F Tyler Cook Jr. 6-9 15.0 St. Louis

F Luka Garza So. 6-11 13.0 Washington D.C.

FYI: Cook has been held to single digits in each of Iowa's last two games. He was scoreless in 24 minutes played in the Hawkeyes' loss at Wisconsin and scored nine points in 27 minutes in Iowa's overtime loss at Nebraska to end the regular season.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

F Ryan Kriener Jr. 6-9 5.6 Spirit Lake, Iowa

G Connor McCaffery R-Fr. 6-5 4.7 Iowa City, Iowa

F Nicholas Baer R-Sr. 6-7 6.6 Bettendorf, Iowa


Site: United Center (23,500), 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: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Jon Crispin (analysis) and Rick Pizzo (sideline reports) will have the call on BTN.

Series history: Illinois leads 85-74.

Last meeting: Iowa won 95-71 on Jan. 20 in Iowa City, Iowa.

FYI: The Hawkeyes ended Illinois' season last year in the Big Ten tournament in New York City. Kipper Nichols scored a career-high 31 points for the Illini, while Trent Frazier, Michael Finke and Te'Jon Lucas all reached double figures, too, but Iowa managed a 96-87 victory behind its trio of Jordan Bohannon (25 points), Luka Garza (20) and Tyler Cook (19).

Scott Richey's storylines

Memorable first meeting

Brad Underwood remembers Illinois' loss at Iowa this season. Clearly. "I remember every three that went in," the Illini coach said. "I remember the first 10 all going in. Believe me, I haven’t forgotten that one. They were great. They were terrific that night. We’ve got to get back and watch film and make the right adjustments, I hope, and come out and play again. That’s what this is all about." Iowa shot 71 percent from three-point range in its 24-point win against Illinois in late January. Freshman guard Joe Wieskamp didn't miss a single shot, including six three-pointers, and led the Hawkeyes with 24 points.

Throwback to November

Playing three games in three days in the Maui Invitational was going to be a talking point for Illinois after beating Northwestern to advance to tonight's showdown with Iowa. The Illini have experience in the shortest of short turnarounds. Making good on that experience is the goal. "That’s one fo the reasons you play in multi-team events in the preseason is to get yourself in these situations," Underwood said. "That’s why we take a lot of pride in our strength program and our conditioning and our recovery process. We’ll remind those guys about those experiences. That’s part of growing." The growth of the youngest Illini could also help them in their rematch with Iowa. "They’re a little more mature and know how to handle the scouting report," Underwood said. "We’re more comfortable with our stuff and what we’re doing. They know when we make a tweak or two it’s no big deal. In November, it was a big deal."

Business-like approach

Like Illinois, Iowa lost five of its last six games in the regular season. The Hawkeyes' only win in that span came in overtime at home against Indiana who, at that time, had lost 12 of 13 games. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery addressed how his team has handled that stretch following the fifth loss — a 93-91 overtime road loss at Nebraska. "You try to continue to have a businesslike approach," McCaffery. "You want to enjoy the ride to a degree, but there's always that businesslike approach that you have to have when you're preparing to play games at this level."


Illinois 79, Iowa 75

That parallels between this Big Ten tournament and the 2016 tournament in Indianapolis are hard to ignore. That year, the Illini beat a short-handed Minnesota team in their Wednesday game. This year? An overtime victory against a Vic Law-less Northwestern. Waiting in the second round in 2016 was an Iowa team that lost four of five games to end the regular season. This year? The Hawkeyes are in a similar tailspin. Illinois upset Iowa in Indianapolis. Could it happen again today in Chicago? (N-G prediction record: 23-9)

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).