The Big Ten only had one game on Sunday, but it was a notable one as a ranked Illinois team went on the road to face a ranked Iowa squad. The game ended up being really impressive.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes 72, No. 19 Illinois Fighting Illini 65
As noted above, this was a big one. Illinois came into Iowa City hoping to extend its seven-game winning streak and protect its position atop the Big Ten standings. On the other side, Iowa was hoping to pull off a marquee upset and get back on track after a tough loss on Thursday night on the road against Maryland.
The game itself lived up to that hype as well. Iowa pulled ahead early, Illinois responded with an impressive run of its own, and the Hawkeyes responded accordingly. And things eventually came down to the final minutes, as it was a two-point game with less than four minutes to go. A few big buckets for Iowa led the Hawkeyes to a 72-65 win. Luka Garza led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
This gives Iowa another marquee win at home. The Hawkeyes may have lost on Thursday night on the road against Maryland, but the team is playing really well. Iowa is now 16-6 overall and went 6-1 over its last seven games. The team also continues to rise in the advanced stats, now all the way up to 13th nationally on KenPom. It’s been quite a run for Iowa and fans hope it will continue on Wednesday on the road against Purdue.
For Illinois, this is a tough one. Illini fans had to know the team’s ridiculous run would end sometime, but this was a tight one. If Illinois hits another shot or two down the stretch, it might walk out of Iowa City with a win. However, that didn’t happen and Illinois fell to 16-6 overall with the loss. Illinois will hope to get back on track next Friday at home against a rolling Maryland team. It should be a fun one.