CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Illinois Basketball better enjoy the home cooking while they still can, the No. 5 Illinois (14-5) host the Northwestern Wildcats (6-12) in its second to last game of the season at the State Farm Center.
The road to a Big Ten title is coming down to a footrace, and Illinois cannot afford to lose a game right now. Especially to a Northwestern team that is looking to snap an 11-game losing streak. Last time against the Wildcats it was a statement win for the Illini who dominated with a 50-point second half, holding Northwestern to just two field goals. Head Coach Brad Underwood says that was a one-in-a-million situation, and they will be expecting more tonight from a much-improved Northwestern team.
“I would love it if all games we played all halves like we did against them,” says Underwood. “But that’s not the case and Chris is a heck of a coach, they scheme as well as anybody in our league, so they’ll have something up their sleeve. You got to do your job defensively, this team is very capable.
You got to do your job defensively.”
“Every team going forward it’s going to be their super bowl, any every team is going to want to beat us, and we’re going to have to play even better than what we’re expected to play,” says freshman Coleman Hawkins.
Illinois is now a half-game behind Michigan for first place in the Big Ten. A win tonight will put them back into a tie for first.