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12/6 Big Ten Preview: Illinois at Iowa

Preview all of Monday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten only has one game on Monday night, but it figures to be a good one with Illinois going on the road to face Iowa. While both teams have had slip ups this season, they boast pretty impressive rosters and overall resumes. It should be quite a battle.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Illinois Fighting Illini at Iowa Hawkeyes

  • Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (FS1)
  • KenPom Spread: Iowa by 2

Illinois and Iowa enter Monday’s matchup with plenty on the line. Illinois is looking to prove it’s overcome its early missteps and Iowa is hoping to secure its first Big Ten win of the season after falling on the road against Purdue on Friday. Illinois currently sits at 6-2 overall and Iowa sits at 7-1. KenPom projects a nearly even matchup.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this game is Keegan Murray’s status. The sophomore forward has been on an absolute tear this season, but missed Friday’s game against Purdue with injury issues. It’s still unclear whether he’ll play on Monday night. If Murray was healthy, Iowa would certainly be the favorite here. But with his status unclear, Illinois has a chance to get a valuable road win.

Outside of Murray’s status, the focus will be on the frontcourt. Iowa’s big men held up relatively well against Purdue on Friday, but can they hold their own against Kofi Cockburn? Filip Rebraca and Josh Oguendele will need big nights. Even if they can create a few turnovers and some extra possessions for Iowa, it would go a long way.

For Illinois, figuring out a way to slow down Iowa’s offense looks like the biggest challenge. The Hawkeyes are fifth nationally in offensive efficiency and have a diverse approach, with the ability to score inside and outside. Murray’s absence would make things easier, but Iowa has plenty of pieces outside him. Illinois is going to have to hope the backcourt holds up, especially as the team deals with some of its own availability concerns with Andre Curbelo.

Expect a fast moving game with plenty of great plays from both sides. This has also developed into a nice rivalry in recent years, so there might be some hard feelings as well. With that said, I’m picking Iowa here. I feel like the Hawks are going to have just enough to pull away a win in the closing minutes.

  • Pick: Iowa