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12/12 Big Ten Preview: Illinois’ Border War With Missouri

Illinois and Purdue both see action tonight for the pair of Big Ten games today.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Illinois Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten, like last night, offers just two games today. However, both are fun matchups from a fan perspective. Purdue faces in-state opponent Indiana State while Illinois takes on Missouri in a border state rematch for a chance to avenge last season’s loss.

Game of the Day:

-No. 6 Illinois Fighting Illini at Missouri Tigers

  • Time/TV: 8:00PM EST (ESPNU)

After a huge win over a top-10 Duke team on the road, Illinois has its sights set on Missouri and a chance to avenge last season’s narrow loss to the Tigers. While unranked, the 4-0 Tigers have a quality resume so far in the season with wins over then No. 21 Oregon 83-75, and victories over Oral Roberts, Wichita State, and Liberty. Missouri has excelled on the boards so far this season, denying their opponents second chance points while excelling at getting their own points on 60 percent shooting for second chance shots. The Tigers have a +7 rebounding margin over opponents so far this season. The senior heavy team has relied on the oldest players heavy for offense, with the four seniors accounting for 67 percent of its scoring.

Illinois, meanwhile, is ranked first in the country among Division I teams on the offensive glass with a 42 percent rate. The Fighting Illini are averaging 12.6 offensive boards per game. Going against Missouri’s focus on denying second chance points should prove an intriguing battle on the glass. The Illini also slightly trail Missouri on assist margin in the last three games, as the Tigers have 44 assists on their 80 field goals (55 percent) compared to Illinois’ 43 on 83 (51.8 percent).

This one should be tight for a while, but Illinois has the more elite talent and should pull away eventually, even if its not by a big margin, for the win down the stretch.

  • Pick: Illinois

The Rest:

-Indiana State Sycamores at Purdue Boilermakers

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (BTN)

The Sycamores have just one game down in the season, an 80-66 win over Truman State after their first game against Eastern Carolina was cancelled. The Sycamores struggled to put away the Bulldogs until the midway point of the second half. Indiana State shot just 23.8 percent from deep on 5-21 shooting, while losing the battle on the glass narrowly on the defensive side 30-31. The Sycamores won’t be able to rely on 13 steals in this one like they did against the Bulldogs.

Purdue will benefit from what should be a great opportunity for a rebound coming off an abysmal second half collapse to the Hurricanes on Tuesday. After letting Miami come back the way they did, Purdue could really benefit from finding their three point shot again after managing just 16 percent Tuesday on 4-25 shooting from deep. Overall field goal percentage was hardly better at 35 percent. This game should offer an opportunity for points for the Boilermakers, and they should take advantage.

  • Pick: Purdue