Illinois is coming into this one after they were upset by UIC, giving them their second loss on the season. Yes, UIC. I was shocked. Everyone seems to play bad in their first game after finals, I am not holding that game against Illinois too much. I always dread those games. Missouri has a lone loss to Georgetown in OT and ten wins. Illinois lost to Texas early in the season to give them their first loss. Texas is playing Michigan State tonight. The Illini also have ten wins. The Illini shot 32% from the field in their loss to UIC, which didn't help. Illinois got going late in that game, got the lead, then UIC seemed to explode and never looked back. Both teams come in ranked, which should make things a little more interesting. Illinois needs to win this game to show they just had an off night against UIC. I hate to say it's a must win because we aren't close to the end of the season, but it sure would help to get a W in this one.
More after the jump..
The Missouri-Illinois series has been dominated by Illinois 20-9. Missouri got their ninth win last year when they snapped a nine game losing streak in an upset. Everytime both teams were ranked, Illinois has won.
Missouri suspended Micheal Dixon indefinitely last week for violating team rules. Since then, he has practiced and Missouri coach said he would be able to play in this game.
Mike Tisdale leads the team in rebounds and blocks. He also seems to end up in foul trouble, he needs to refrain from getting into foul trouble tonight, as Illinois will need him. Four Illinois players are averaging double digit scoring and two are averaging 7+. McCamey also needs to stay out of a slump, he has to produce big in this game. He is averaging 50% from the three point range. D.J Richardson is averaging 46% from that mark.
Missouri has five players averaging ten or more points. Illinois needs to shut down Marcus Denmon, which would help majorly.
Illinois will not win this game if they played like they did against UIC. They have to produce points and get rebounds. It is key in this game to force turnovers and win the turnover battle. Illinois needs to refrain from getting stupid fouls and keep Missouri off the free throw line.
Missouri is favored by two points. The game will be close and entertaining, that is if Illinois plays like Illinois should. No prediction will come from me, I will just sit back and whatever happens, happens.. it's a toss up for sure. Which Illinois will show up? We should know within the first few minutes.