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Good evening as No. 12 Illinois (12-5, 8-3) travel to Big Ten cellar dweller Nebraska (4-11, 0-8) for a rescheduled Friday night matchup.

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Game 19: No. 6 Illinois at Nebraska

Date/Time/Place: Friday, Feb. 12, 2021: 8 p.m. CST, Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb.

Capacity: N/A (NO FANS!)

Records: Illinois 13-5, 9-3 in Big Ten Conference; 21–10, 13–7 in Big Ten Conference in 2019-20 season. Nebraska is 4-11, 0-8 in Big Ten Conference; 7–25 (2–18 in Big Ten Conference) in 2019-20 season.

Line: Illinois by 14

Series notes: Illinois leads the all-time series 16-8 and but Nebraska has won five out of nine in Lincoln including the last two.

TV: FOX; Kevin Kugler (Play-by-Play), Shon Morris (Analyst)

Radio (Illinois): Brian Barnhart (PBP), Doug Altenberger (analyst).


Projected Starters:

Illinois

Ayo Dosunmu - G

Trent Frazier - G

Adam Miller - G

Jacob Grandison - F

Kofi Cockburn - C

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Nebraska

Trey McGowens - G

Teddy Allen - G

Lat Mayen - F

Dalano Banton - F

Derrick Walker - F


PRE-GAME NOTES

  • Illinois is fourth in the current KenPom.com team rankings. That is the program’s highest rating since the 2005. Illinois owns a combined 10 victories in Quads 1 and 2, tied for most in the NCAA. Illinois’ six Quad 1 wins, meanwhile, ranks third nationally.
  • Leading the Illini is reigning Naismith Trophy and Big Ten Player of the Week Ayo Dosunmu. Owning numbers of 21.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game, Dosunmu is solidifying his candidacy for First-Team All-America status and has moved into the National Player of the Year conversation as well. He is the only player in the NCAA over the last 11 seasons to average at least 20 points, six rebounds and four assists, all while leading Illinois back among the nation’s elite.

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  • The Illini have won three consecutive road games during league play for the second year in a row. Illinois heads to Nebraska aiming for its longest streak since setting a school record with 13 straight Big Ten road wins from Feb. 3, 2004 through Feb. 19, 2005.
  • Illinois is looking for its first win at Nebraska since 2017. The Illini are 4-5 all-time in Lincoln, but just 1-4 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Illinois’ 9-3 league record is its best through 12 games since the 2010 Big Ten season (also 9-3). 
  • Kofi Cockburn ranks second in the NCAA with 13 double-doubles this season. He has posted double-doubles in 10 of 12 Big Ten games, averaging 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds during league play. At 17.2 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game, Cockburn is one of just three players from the high-major conferences currently averaging a double-double. He is on pace 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.
  • Trent Frazier has seen his scoring increase recently, averaging 16.0 points (64) while making an average of three treys per contest (12-32) over the last four games.
  • Jacob Grandison has scored 32 points over the last five games (6.4 ppg) after totaling 29 points through this season’s first 13 games (2.2 ppg).
  • Freshman Andre Curbelo ranks second in the Big Ten in assists during league play at 5.2 apg. He is averaging 4.4 assists on the season, currently ranking fifth on the school’s all-time freshman assists chart behind legendary Illini point guards Bruce Douglas, Derek Harper, Dee Brown and Deron Williams.
  • Illinois is the highest ranked team to visit Arena since No. 6 Michigan State ended the Huskers' 20-game home win streak on Jan. 17, 2019. The only opponents which were ranked higher at game time was No. 4 Maryland (2/6/16) and No. 5 Wisconsin (2/10/15).
  • Friday's game was originally scheduled for Jan. 13 when the Huskers were on pause because of positive COVID-19 cases. Illinois was slated to face Big Ten leader Michigan on Thursday, but the Wolverines' pause created a scheduling window for this matchup.
  • Freshman Eduardo Andre has given the Huskers a spark off the bench in the last two games. Andre, who played just 17 minutes in NU's first six conference games, has logged double-digit minutes against both Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • Nebraska guard Teddy Allen is sixth among all power conference players averaging 16.9 points per game as of Feb. 10. Allen is currently sixth in the Big Ten in scoring and is one of two newcomers in the top 10 of the Big Ten in scoring. His scoring average is on pace to be one of the highest scoring averages by a first-year Nebraska player. The current mark is 18.1 points per game by All-Big Ten performer Terran Petteway in 2013-14. 


LIVE: Media Timeout (15:55 left in 1st): Nebraska 9, No. 6 Illinois 0 - Cornhuskers pulling Cockburn away from the basket and a dumb foul by Grandison leads to a sleepy start in the Lincoln for the Illini. Illinois is 0 for 4 from the field with two turnovers. 


LIVE: Media Timeout (11:51 left in 1st): Nebraska 13, No. 6 Illinois 11 - Brad Underwood is likely going to have to remind his team not to get sucked in to a 3-point shooting contest tonight. Nebraska doesn't play with any rhythm so this game has clearly gotten off to a strange start. The major issue for the Illini so far is three offensive rebounds for Nebraska.  


LIVE: Media Timeout (7:28 left in 1st): Nebraska 25, No. 6 Illinois 20 - Give Fred Hoiberg credit because Nebraska's plan tonight is clearly to run and outscore Illinois. I'm not sure many coaches would have the guts to do that but so far, it's working. Nebraska has five offensive rebounds already. 


LIVE: Media Timeout (3:30 left in 1st): Nebraska 32, No. 6 Illinois 24 - Illinois has seven turnovers and Nebraska has a 18-12 lead on points in the paint. Not exactly the combination Illini fans thought would happen through 16 minutes. 


HALFTIME: Nebraska 34, No. 6 Illinois 33 - So, want to know why Nebraska is at the bottom of the Big Ten? Illinois has played terrible for basically 17 of the 20 minutes and the Cornhuskers are up by just one at the halftime break. 

Kofi Cockburn with 11 points and five rebounds. Nebraska has missed five of its last six shots but has 13 points off the bench. Illinois and Nebraska both have 18 points in the paint. 

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LIVE: Media Timeout (15:58 left): No. 6 Illinois 40, Nebraska 39 - Cockburn with 15 points and eight rebounds (and he's going to the foul line again) and Illinois is still getting shots at the rim in this second half. Nebraska is 3 of 10 from 3-point range tonight. 


LIVE: Media Timeout (11:58 left): Nebraska 51, No. 6 Illinois 46 - Turnovers and questionable shots are really holding Illinois back right now. Curbelo and Dosunmu have six turnovers tonight. Nebraska's Teddy Allen is 5 of 7 from the field for 11 points. 


LIVE: Nebraska Timeout (11:58 left): Nebraska 52, No. 6 Illinois 51 - Nebraska can't stop Illinois' dribble penetration and Fred Hoiberg has to call a timeout to figure out how to keep Illini guards from the rim. Illini freshman guard Adam Miller has 10 points and three rebounds tonight. 


LIVE: Media Timeout (7:18 left): No. 6 Illinois 56, Nebraska 52 - The Illini defensive light bulb has turned on. Nebraska hasn't scored in nearly four minutes as Illini are on a 10-0 run. Cockburn with 19 points and nine rebounds tonight. 


LIVE: Illini Timeout (3:40 left): Nebraska 61, No. 6 Illinois 56: Illinois in danger of handing Nebraska its first Big Ten win since January 7, 2020 (25 consecutive losses). Dosunmu is just 6 of 16 from the field and Nebraska has 11 offensive rebounds. 


FINAL (OT): No. 6 Illinois 77, Nebraska 72 - A late-game remarkable effort from Ayo Dosunmu (31 points, 6 assists) drags Illini to its fifth straight win and an avoidance of a major upset. Illinois leaves Lincoln with a 14-5, 10-3 record and still in line for a possible 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

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