CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Good evening as No. 5 Illinois (16-6, 12-4) host Nebraska (5-16, 1-13) for regular season finale at State Farm Center.
I'm LOOKING LIVE...at the Illini home floor as we're about 15 minutes from the opening tip.
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Game 23: Nebraska at No. 5 Illinois
Date/Time/Place: Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021: 6 p.m. CST, State Farm Center (Champaign, Ill.)
Capacity: N/A (NO FANS!)
Records: Illinois 16-6, 12-4 in Big Ten Conference; 21–10, 13–7 in Big Ten Conference in 2019-20 season. Nebraska 5-16, 1-13 in Big Ten Conference; 7-25, 2-18 in Big Ten Conference in 2018-19.
Line: Illinois by 13.5
Series notes: Illinois leads the all-time series, 17-8 and is 12-2 against the Cornhuskers in Champaign.
TV: BTN; – Brandon Gaudin (Play-by-Play), Stephen Bardo (Analyst)
Radio (Illinois): Brian Barnhart (PBP), Doug Altenberger (analyst).
Trent Frazier - G
Adam Miller - G
Da'Monte Williams - G
Zach Griffith - F
Kofi Cockburn - C
Trey McGowens - G
Teddy Allen - G
Lat Mayen - F
Dalano Banton - F
Derrick Walker - F
- Illini All-American Ayo Dosunmu Out With Broken Nose; Return Status Currently Unclear
- It will be Senior Night in Champaign, with Trent Frazier, Da’Monte Williams and Zach Griffith set for their final game at State Farm Center.
- Thursday is Illinois’ lone home appearance over its final six Big Ten games.
- Illinois is fourth in the current NET rankings, and No. 5 overall (No. 2 seed) in the NCAA Tournament Committee’s initial ranking of the top 16 teams (released Feb. 13).
- Illinois has seven Quad 1 wins, tied for second-most in the NCAA. The Illini own a combined 11 victories in Quads 1 and 2, meanwhile, tied for fourth nationally.
- Over the last two Big Ten seasons, Illinois has the best win percentage (.694) and most league wins (25).
- Kofi Cockburn ranks second in the NCAA with 15 double-doubles this season. He has posted double-doubles in 12 of 16 Big Ten games, averaging 18.6 points and 10.6 rebounds during league play. At 17.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg overall, Cockburn is one of just three players from the high-major conferences currently averaging a double-double. He is vying to become the first Illini player since Nick Weatherspoon in 1973.
- Cockburn is one of seven players nationally averaging at least 17 points and 10 rebounds, and he is the only player in the NCAA averaging 15+ points and 10+ boards while shooting at least 65%.
- Dosunmu and Cockburn are combining for 38.4 points per game, the seventh-highest duo nationally, and third among the high-major conferences.
- Trent Frazier has seen his scoring increase recently, averaging 15.0 points (120) and shooting 41.8% from 3-point range (23-55) while making an average of 2.9 treys over the last eight games.
- Freshman Andre Curbelo ranks third in the Big Ten in assists during league play at 4.6 apg. He is averaging 4.1 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 has freshmen playing prominent roles for the fourth year in a row under Coach Underwood. Adam Miller has started every game this season and ranks fourth among all Big Ten freshmen in scoring at 8.2 ppg.
- Nebraska continues with its frantic February pace, as the Huskers will play 11 games between Feb. 6-28 following the rescheduling of games against Penn State, Illinois and Minnesota. The 2020-21 season will mark the fifth time in school history and the first since 1919-20, that NU will play double-digit games in February (based on dates listed in the media guide). Tuesday’s game begins a
- stretch of four games in eight days. Earlier this month, NU played seven games in 12 days, spanning five states and more than 4,300 miles highlighted by a pair of games at Maryland (Feb. 16-17).
- • NU will look to snap a 15-game losing streak against ranked opponents, as its last win over a ranked team was a 69-61 win over Maryland in the 2019 Big Ten Tournament. A win on Thursday would mark the Huskers’ highest ranked road win since a 67-51 win over No. 1 Missouri on Feb. 6, 1982. NU is 2-16 all-time against teams ranked No. 5 in the AP poll with the wins coming against Michigan State (11/28/90) and Kansas State (2/7/53). The Illini are the highest ranked team Nebraska has faced since Dec. 3, 2017 (Michigan State).
- Nebraska’s strength of schedule is fourth nationally by KenPom entering Wednesday’s action. The 2020-21 season marks the second straight season NU has had a strength of schedule in the top 10 in KenPom. NU’s schedule was eighth in 2019-20. The Huskers are one of only three teams nationally (also Minnesota and Iowa State) to have top-10 strength of schedules by KenPom in each of the last two years.
- The Big Ten had nine teams in the top 40 of the NET rankings on Feb. 22, including four of the top eight spots. In all, three of the Huskers’ final five regular-season opponents are in the top 50 of the NET and all are in the top 100. This season, 11 of the Huskers’ 16 losses have been to teams in Quad 1.
Media Timeout (15:50 left in 1st): No. 5 Illinois 6, Nebraska 5 - Zach Griffith's first start ends with the senior from Fisher diving on the floor for a loose ball.
Giorgi, Curbelo and Grandison about to check in for the Illini after this timeout. Illinois is 0 for 4 from three-point range but the Illini defense has already forced two turnovers.
Media Timeout (7:41 left in 1st): No. 5 Illinois 18, Nebraska 16 - Underwood receives a technical foul that spent the entire under-12 timeout trying to get. All three officials and Kofi Cockburn (the player Underwood is advocating for) need to take a breath and chill out.
HALFTIME: No. 5 Illinois 36, Nebraska 28 - Illinois freshman guard Adam Miller has a game-high 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting. In a foul-plagued, turnover-heavy and choppy first half, Illinois managed to shoot 51.7 percent and make five of its last seven field goals.
Both teams are 4 of 19 from three-point range. Five technical fouls assessed in this first half. Kofi Cockburn has six points and three rebounds.
Media Timeout (15:48 left): No. 5 Illinois 48, Nebraska 36 - Andre Curbelo with the opportunity of a triple double tonight. The freshman backup guard has eight points, seven rebounds and five assists tonight. Cockburn already has seven points in this second half.
Media Timeout (11:42 left): No. 5 Illinois 58, Nebraska 44 - In this second half, the score is Nebraska 16, Kofi Cockburn 10. The Illini big man has 16 points including an impressive 6 of 8 from the foul line tonight. Nebraska getting a balanced effort but Trey McGowens has 10 second-half points.
Illini Timeout (8:50 left): No. 5 Illinois 67, Nebraska 53 - Da'Monte Williams (in his last game at State Farm Center) has eight points including a three-pointer right before this timeout.
Underwood is extremely angry at the lack of defense his team is showing in the last few minutes.
Media Timeout (7:09 left): No. 5 Illinois 69, Nebraska 58 - First half was dominated by Adam Miller. Second half has been all Kofi Cockburn. In the middle, Da'Monte Williams is doing all the little things (8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals).
Nebraska Timeout (7:09 left): No. 5 Illinois 77, Nebraska 59 - Illini lead fast break points 16-2 and have 14 dunks or layups tonight.
Media Timeout (3:33 left): No. 5 Illinois 83, Nebraska 62 - Andre Curbelo is two assists short of a triple-double tonight. On a night where Illini are 4 of 21 from three-point attempts, they still have 83 points at the final media timeout.