Good evening from the home office of Illini Now/Sports Illustrated as No. 4 Illinois (18-6, 14-4 in Big Ten Conference) travels to No. 2 Michigan (18-1, 13-1) for a Tuesday night matchup.
We're about a 30-minute from the opening tip of the first road trip for Illini Now/Sports Illustrated and we just learned that the Illinois basketball program has confirmed that Illini star guard Ayo Dosunmu (broken nose) will not be active tonight against the Wolverines.
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Game 22: No. 4 Illinois at No. 2 Michigan
Date/Time/Place: Tuesday, March 2, 2021: 6 p.m. CST, Crisler Arena Ann Arbor, Michigan
Capacity: N/A (NO FANS!)
Records: Illinois 18-6, 12-3 in Big Ten Conference; 21–10, 13–7 in Big Ten Conference in 2019-20 season. Michigan 18-1, 13-1 in Big Ten Conference; 19-12 (10-10 in Big Ten Conference) in 2019-20 season.
Line: Michigan by 9
Series notes: Illinois leads the all-time series 89-85 but Michigan lead the series in Ann Arbor 52-30 and Brad Underwood is 2-2 against Michigan in his tenure with the Illini.
TV: ESPN; Dan Shulman (Play-by-Play), Jay Bilas (Analyst)
Radio (Illinois): Brian Barnhart (PBP), Deon Thomas (analyst).
Trent Frazier - G
Adam Miller - G
Da'Monte Williams - G
Jacob Grandison - F
Kofi Cockburn - C
Mike Smith - G
Eli Brooks - G
Isaiah Livers - F
Franz Wagner - F
Hunter Dickinson - C
No. 4 Illinois plays its fourth game in eight days on Tuesday at No. 2 Michigan (6 p.m. CT, ESPN).
• Illinois finishes Big Ten play with five of six away from home. Illinois’ last three are on the road against teams ranked in the top 12 in kenpom, with remaining games at Michigan (2) and Ohio State (7) following Saturday’s victory at Wisconsin (12).
• Illinois has clinched a top-2 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament. Illinois is sixth in the current NET rankings. The Illini were No. 5 overall (No. 2 seed) in the NCAA tournament committee’s initial ranking of the top 16 teams (released Feb. 13).
• Illinois has eight Quad 1 wins, tied with Michigan for most in the NCAA. The Illini own a combined 12 victories in Quads 1 and 2, meanwhile, tied with Michigan and Gonzaga for second nationally behind Alabama (13).
• Illinois’ 14 Big Ten wins through 18 games is tied for its third-most in a season. The school record of 15 league victories was set in 1984 (15-3, co-champions) and equaled in 2005 (15-1, champions).
• Over the last two Big Ten seasons, Illinois has the league’s best win percentage (.711) and most wins (27).
• Illinois is No. 4 this week, its highest ranking since claiming the No. 1 spot in the final AP poll of 2005. The Illini are in the Top 5 of a March poll for just the fourth time in the last 65 seasons (1989, 2001, 2005, 2021).
- No. 4 Illinois at No. 2 Michigan marks the program’s third top-4 match-up (AP) in Big Ten play, and first since Jan. 11, 1979, when the No. 4 Illini defeated No. 1 Michigan State on an Eddie Johnson jump shot at the buzzer.
• Illinois is 4-3 all-time in top-4 match-ups, with its last win a 72-57 victory by the No. 1 Illini over No. 4 Louisville in the 2005 Final Four (April 2, 2005).
• Illinois is 6-40 all-time against teams ranked in the top 2 of the AP poll, with its last win on Feb. 7, 2013 when the Illini defeated No. 1 Indiana on a Tyler Griffey layup at the buzzer.
• Illinois has never beaten a top-2 team on the road. Its highest ranked road wins were at No. 3 Indiana on March 5, 1989 on a Nick Anderson 30-footer at the buzzer, and an overtime victory at No. 3 Kentucky on Dec. 5, 1966.
• Kofi Cockburn ranks second in the NCAA with 15 double-doubles this season. He has posted double-doubles in 12 Big Ten games, averaging 18.9 points and 10.2 rebounds during league play.
• For the first time this season, Cockburn’s season-rebounding average has dipped under 10. At 17.7 ppg and 9.9 rpg, Cockburn is vying to become the first Illini player since Nick Weatherspoon in 1973 (25.0 ppg, 12.3 rpg) to average a double-double for an entire season.
• Dosunmu and Cockburn are combining for 38.7 points per game, the sixth-highest scoring duo nationally, and third among the high-major conferences.
• Trent Frazier has seen his scoring increase recently, averaging 13.3 points (133) and shooting 38.7% from three-point range (24-62) while making an average of 2.4 treys over the last 10 games.
• Along with the scoring, Frazier continues to be a menace at the other end of the floor and is a contender for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. He had a career-high 6 steals while holding Minnesota star Marcus Carr to 3-of-11 shooting. He then held Nebraska’s Teddy Allen to seven points on 3-of-7 shooting two days after Allen scored 41.
• Freshman Andre Curbelo ranks third in the Big Ten in assists during league play at 4.6 apg. He is averaging 4.3 assists on the season, standing fifth on the school’s all-time freshman assists chart behind legendary Illini point guards Bruce Douglas, Derek Harper, Dee Brown and Deron Williams.
• Curbelo is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week, with the rookie point guard playing a more prominent role in the Illini lineup while Dosunmu has been sidelined by injury.
• Illinois has freshmen playing major minutes for the fourth year in a row under Brad Underwood. Adam Miller has started every game this season and ranks fourth among all Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 8.5 ppg.
• Illinois won seven straight Big Ten games from Jan. 19-Feb. 20, with its streak snapped last Tuesday at MSU. It marked the second year in a row that the Illini had a seven-game winning streak during league play.
ILLINI TIMEOUT (17:13 left in 1st): No. 2 Michigan 2, No. 4 Illinois 0 - Illinois has three turnovers and is very much starting this game like they did at Wisconsin. Illinois having problems getting Cockburn post position against Dickerson.
MEDIA TIMEOUT (15:43 left in 1st): No. 2 Michigan 2, No. 4 Illinois 2 - Curbelo gets a bucket and Illinois still holding Michigan to one shot per possession by crashing the glass despite having to guard all the way out to the 3-point line.
MICHIGAN/MEDIA TIMEOUT (10:24 left in 1st): No. 2 Michigan 10, No. 4 Illinois 10 - Andre Curbelo (7 points) has been excellent early tonight and has been more patient in his play resulting in only one turnover on his part. Michigan center Hunter Dickerson is 0 of 3 from the field and Illinois center Kofi Cockburn is 0 for 3.
MICHIGAN/MEDIA TIMEOUT (7:11 left in 1st): No. 4 Illinois 19, No. 2 Michigan 12 - Illinois gets a three-pointer from Miller after an offensive rebound from Grandison. Curbelo has 11 points already and has been really under control the entire time he's been on the floor - a real mature and impressive segment for the freshman.
MEDIA TIMEOUT (3:58 left in 1st): No. 4 Illinois 21, No. 2 Michigan 18 - Wagner and Dickinson have four points and three fouls so far in this first half. Illinois has seven turnovers but Michigan only has four points off them. A smaller Illinois team already has six offensive rebounds.
HALFTIME: No. 4 Illinois 33, No. 2 Michigan 22 - The defensive effort from Illinois has been outstanding: Michigan with 22 points, Illinois has two steals and the Dickinson/Wagner combination has only four combined points.
Curbelo with 11 points and Frazier with six quick points to end the first half.
MICHIGAN/MEDIA TIMEOUT (15:55 left in 1st): No. 4 Illinois 45, No. 2 Michigan 29 - Illinois is 5 of 6 from the field in this second half and they're controlling this game without the services of Dosunmu and much of Cockburn tonight.
MEDIA TIMEOUT (11:16 left in 1st): No. 4 Illinois 57, No. 2 Michigan 36 - Illinois getting whatever it wants offensively and when it misses, it already has 12 offensive rebounds for 22 second-chance points. Trent Frazier has 14 points and has eight of them in this second half.
MEDIA TIMEOUT (7:53 left in 1st): No. 4 Illinois 66, No. 2 Michigan 38 - What do you do when your best player is out? Get the ball inside and go to the glass. Illinois, without Ayo Dosunmu, has 30 points in the paint and 22 second-chance points. Illinois has six three-pointers and Michigan has seven three-point ATTEMPTS.
ILLINI/MEDIA TIMEOUT (3:53 left in 1st): No. 4 Illinois 71, No. 2 Michigan 47 - Michigan forward Franz Wagner, who had earned 21 points in his last two games, has 2 points on 1 of 9 shooting. Most impressive for Illini? All this offense has been done in the half-court (2 fast break points).
FINAL: No. 4 Illinois 76, No. 2 Michigan 53 - For the first time in program history, Illinois defeats a Top 2 team on the road and does it in impressive fashion. Illinois improves to 19-6, 15-4 in Big Ten and 3-0 without Ayo Dosunmu.