CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — During any other season, an early March matchup between the Big Ten’s sixth- and eighth-place teams might mean little. But not this season.
When sixth-place Illinois (21-9, 8-8 Big Ten) heads to Iowa (18-11, 7-9), both know they could make it to the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois coach John Groce said Monday that Iowa will be a contrast to Illinois’ last opponent. The Hawkeyes can play 10 players, while Nebraska played just seven last Saturday at Illinois. The Illini won that game only after coming from behind after the Cornhuskers ran out of steam.
Groce said he hopes three of his younger players can build on strong games against Nebraska. Point guard Tracy Abrams, center Nnanna Egwu and forward Myke Henry were all key pieces in Illinois’ win.