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Big Ten Friday Thread: Iowa-Illinois, the Game of the Season?

Previewing the Hawkeyes at the Illini, plus a trip around the rest of the Big Ten sports in action tonight.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois
oh sure now they know how to shake hands
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Been a week, here’s a new thread for tonight’s game between Iowa and Illinois.

I ran down some of the Big Ten’s bracketology earlier this week, though now that Michigan State has lost to Rutgers by THIRTY and scored 37 points in the process—you hate to see it—perhaps Sparty will fall out of the Last Four In before the calendar turns once again from February to Izzo.

Turning to tonight, there’s just one Big Ten hoops game, but it’s a doozy.

Big Ten Basketball

#7 Iowa Hawkeyes at #19 Illinois Fighting Illini

8pm | FS1 | Illinois -2.5 | O/U 161.5

Iowa: 12-3 (6-2 B1G), KP #4
Illinois: 10-5 (6-3 B1G), KP #8

MNW: Easily the game of the week and the only meeting between these two in the regular season—the Illini should be able to keep pace and score with the Hawkeyes, with Kofi Cockburn neutralizing a little of Luka Garza’s usual advantage on the inside and enough capable perimeter defenders to stop the usual aerial bombardment from C.J. Frederick, Jordan Bohannon, and Joe Wieskamp.

But can Ayo Dosunmu score enough to put the Illini over the top? I’ve talked myself into Illinois here, particularly with the shred of advantage home court provides...but damn if this won’t be fun (and full of complaints that Garza totally got fouled on that one play).

Stewmonkey13: CJ Fredrick is questionable tonight and that’s a pretty big blow. Besides stretching defenses with his 3pt shooting (50% from deep), he’s also one of Iowa’s only capable defenders.

Iowa’s going to need Joe Toussaint to play more to be able to break the defense down with the dribble to open things up for Luka Garza and and the other shooters, Joe Wieskamp and Jordan Bohannon). Bohannon also has to be better, it’s really not possible for him to be worse than his game against Indiana.

Garza is also going to need to get Cockburn in foul trouble and stay out of trouble himself, or this is gonna be a bad night for the good guys.

MNW: Toussaint, incidentally, has some thoughts on Illinois:

This is a rivalry where, last year, Fran McCaffery pulled the Hawks out of the postgame handshake line after some jawing from an Illinois coach about...I don’t remember. Iowa probably scored extra points when they weren’t supposed to or something. That was like 10 years ago and neither team made the NCAA Tournament, so who gives a shit.

But maybe a brawl tonight? GET EXCITED!


But what say you, dear reader?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    (11 votes)
  • 57%
    (15 votes)
26 votes total Vote Now


Let’s do the other bets, too:

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Illinois -2.5
    (8 votes)
  • 63%
    Iowa +2.5
    (14 votes)
22 votes total Vote Now



This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Over 161.5 points
    (14 votes)
  • 26%
    Under 161.5 points
    (5 votes)
19 votes total Vote Now

Other B1G Things

No wrestling preview today; RIP WSR. See BRT’s volleyball recap for an idea of what’s going on in the setty spikes! Here’s some nationally-televised action; you’ll have to look for your own team if they’re not on here.


  • 1/31: Illinois at #1 Iowa [11am, BTN]
  • 1/31: #7 Ohio State at Maryland [1pm, BTN]


  • 1/29: Minnesota at Maryland [7:30pm, BTN]
  • 1/30: Wisconsin at Illinois [11am, BTN]

Men’s Hockey

  • 1/29: Minnesota at Ohio State [5pm, BTN]
  • 1/29: Michigan State at wisconsin [7pm: BTN+, FS Detroit, FS Wisconsin+]
  • 1/30: Michigan State at wisconsin [3pm: BTN+, FS Wisconsin, FS Detroit+]
  • 1/30: Minnesota at Ohio State [4pm: BTN, FOX Sports App]

Other College Basketball Things

UNC Asheville Bulldogs at Winthrop Eagles

5pm | ESPN3 | Win -12.5 | O/U 154.5

The Eagles are one of the few remaining unbeatens in college hoops; Asheville took ‘em to the wire yesterday. Might have another in them.

#22 Saint Louis Billikens at Richmond Spiders

5:30pm | ESPN2 | Rich -1.5 | O/U 146

With these two mascots, it’s literally true that the A-10 is full of blood and spiders.

Don’t look at me like that; just take one glance at the Billiken and tell me it hasn’t killed and won’t kill again.

Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Fort Wayne Mastodons

6:30pm | ESPN3 | FW -1.5 | O/U 156

BoilerBettor’s favorite team in what should be some fast, dumb, fun basketball.

Boise State Broncos at Colorado State Rams

10pm | FS1 | Boise -1.5 | O/U 145

The Broncos are 9-1 and narrowly holding off 10-2 Utah State for the lead in the Mountain West; the Rams lurk at 9-2, just behind. You’ll see some good, athletic, fast basketball here.

Cal State Fullerton TItans at Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners

10pm | ESPNU | Bakersfield -10 | O/U 130.5


To be honest, I think the old logo looked better:

UC Irvine Anteaters at Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

10:59pm | Big West TV | UCI -3 | O/U 137.5

Last game of the night, easily pulled up in a browser. The Anteaters—and I have done literally no research on this—are the Big West frontrunners and have a couple ridiculously tall dudes. Fairly sure that’s a thing.

Full schedule’s below. Tell us what you’re watching, what you’re drinking, where you’ll be, what your sign is, a/s/l, anything else you can think of.

Enjoy the games, behave.