The Illinois Fighting Illini will host the Purdue Boilermakers to start their 2021 play. In such a competitive Big Ten, where eight teams are in the AP Top 25, the Fighting Illini will not want to drop another game, especially to the lesser talented Purdue Boilermakers.
Fixture: Purdue Boilermakers vs Illinois Fighting Illini - NCAA Men's Basketball
Date & Time: Saturday, January 2, 2021, 6 PM ET
Venue: State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois
Illinois Fighting Illini Preview
The Illinois Fighting Illini are coming off a 60-69 win against their rivals, the Indiana Hoosiers.
Illinois' strategy remains the same: get the ball to their two star players, Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, and let them go to work. The duo scored over 65% of the teams' points in the victory over Indiana.
Cockburn recorded his sixth double-double on the year, while Dosunmu recorded 30 points for the third time this season.
Here is what Cockburn had to say about his teammate:
"He's the best player in the country."
An area that Illinois Fighting Illini will need to improve against the Purdue Boilermakers is their ability to start strong.
The Fighting Illini had a stretch during the first three minutes of their previous game where they went 0-7.
Key Player - Ayo Dosunmu
Ayo Dosunmu is the key player for the Illinois Fighting Illini. As mentioned, he has a huge part in the offensive gameplan for the Fighting Illini, ranking in the top 5 in Division I for most points per game this season.
In addition to the junior guard's ability to score, he can also lock down his opponent on offense.
If Dosunmu can continue to score at a high level and lock down the Purdue Boilermakers guards on the perimeter, Illinois will likely be 4-1 in the Big Ten.
Illinois Fighting Illini Predicted Lineup
C Kofi Cockburn, G Trent Frazier, G Da'Monte Wiliams, G Ayo Dosunmu, G Adam Miller
Purdue Boilermakers Preview
The Purdue Boilermakers are coming off a 5-point loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (76-81) dropping them to 7-4 on the year.
The Boilermakers allowed the Scarlet Knights to shoot 50% from the field and convert on 11 three-pointers.
The Purdue Boilermakers have a chance to make some noise in the Big Ten as they prepare for the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday before facing Michigan State and Nebraska. However, to do so, they will need to tighten up on their defensive rotations.
Key Player - Trevion Williams
Trevion Williams is the key player for the Purdue Boilermakers. Although the Boilermakers struggled in their perimeter defense against Rutgers, they controlled the rebounding edge 33-31 and had 42 points inside the paint, thanks to their junior forward's 21 points and 12 rebounds.
If Williams can control the boards and cause a ruckus in the paint, Purdue will have a chance at an upset.
Purdue Boilermakers Predicted Lineup
F Trevion Williams, F Mason Gillis, G Sasha Stefanovic, G Eric Hunter Jr., G Brandon Newman
Purdue vs Illinois Prediction
The Illinois Fighting Illini will control the game on Saturday afternoon and earn their first win of 2021. The Fighting Illini will have too much star power for the Purdue Boilermakers.
Where to watch Purdue vs Illinois
The game will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.
Published 31 Dec 2020, 07:57 IST