In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• IU-Illinois gameday info.
• Reflecting on the first matchup with Illinois.
• Two Hoosiers who didn’t play in the first matchup (and potentially three) will be key tonight for Indiana to get a win.
• Happy birthday to one of the most legendary end-of-bench IU fan favorites of all time.
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Welcome to another edition of Banner Morning. Tonight Indiana faces a huge challenge in Champaign against Illinois.
In gameday news …
Indiana’s important matchup with Illinois tips tonight at 8 Eastern on FS1. Dave O’Brien and Stephen Bardo will be on the call.
As always, you can listen to Don Fischer’s call of the game for free on the TuneIn Radio app.
Indiana is currently ranked #47 in KenPom, while Illinois is #63. The KenPom prediction for the game is a 70-69 victory for the Illini, with Indiana having a 46 percent chance of winning.
This is the second meeting between the two teams this season. Indiana won the first matchup back in January, 73-65.
You may recall that the Illini jumped out to an early lead, but the Hoosiers found their footing toward the end of the first half and into the second half, outscoring Illinois 38-17 during the middle 20 minutes of the game. Romeo Langford scored a career-high 28 points, with 11 of them coming at the line.
Rob Phinisee did not play in the first matchup, still recovering from his concussion. De’Ron Davis played three minutes before injuring his ankle, which would hobble him for the next month. And Race Thompson obviously didn’t play either.
Phinisee’s return will be key, as Illinois plays a high-pressure style of defense that looks to interrupt passing lanes. So it’s no surprise that the Hoosiers turned it over 15 times in the first game. Phinisee has the lowest turnover rate among Indiana’s primary ball-handlers other than Romeo Langford, a big reason why Indiana’s turnover numbers have been much lower since his return to form over the last month.
And don’t underestimate the importance of Davis and, potentially, Thompson, depending on how comfortable Archie feels using him given the high-pressure defense and fast pace Illinois plays.
A big reason for Illinois’ early lead in Bloomington was the play of Giorgi Bezhanishvili. He is the Illini’s highest-usage player and is adept at drawing fouls. In the first game, Juwan Morgan was basically forced to concede baskets to not pick fouls, and Giorgi went 8-9 from the field.
When Illinois wins, he usually has a high-efficiency offensive game. If Davis and Thompson can slow him down, and if Indiana can make a decent percentage of the many free throws they will undoubtedly shoot, it will go a long way toward Indiana picking up a win that almost all of the bracketologists believe the Hoosiers need to stay on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
And we have a birthday today …
Happy 23rd birthday to Tijan Jobe, a Hoosier fan favorite who played at Indiana from 2008-2010.
Tijan played sparingly in a reserve role during Tom Crean’s early years, occasionally serving as a menacing presence atop a 1-3-1 zone. For his career, Tijan scored 15 points while accumulating 40 personal fouls.
For the links mentioned in this edition of Banner Morning, visit assemblycall.com.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in and your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.