College Basketball Game of the Week: No. 13 Illinois vs. No. 3 Purdue
It’s almost time for a matchup between the two top teams in the Big Ten conference.
The No. 13 Illinois Fighting Illini travel to Mackey Arena to take on the No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers.
Both teams enter the game on a winning streak of four games or longer and this is the second of two meetings during the regular season between the two teams.
Here’s a recap of the first matchup that may have been one of the best games in the Big Ten this season.
In a double overtime spine-chiller, the Boilermakers went on the road and defeated the Illini 96-88.
Despite the Illini tying up the game in both the second half and first overtime period, the Boilermakers were able to run away in the second period with four free throws from Eric Hunter Jr.
In the game, the Boilermakers had two players score over 20 points.
Senior guard Sasha Stefanovic led the way with 22 points hitting five 3-pointers in the process.
Stefanovic helped the Boilermakers outduel senior guard Alfonso Plummer of the Illini who led both sides with 24 points.
Since that win against Illinois, Purdue has picked up a 5-1 record with the lone loss coming on the road against Indiana in the game immediately following that Illini win.
Among those six games, Purdue was able to pick up a win against another talented Big Ten team in Ohio State as the Boilermakers won that game by three points at home.
Illinois has managed to climb since that Purdue loss from No. 17 in that game to No. 13 now and hold a 4-1 record after the loss.
The only loss in those games came against Maryland on the road where the Illini lost by double figures.
Since then, the best win for the Illini was at home against No. 11 Wisconsin where junior center Kofi Cockburn had one of his best games of the season with 37 points and 12 rebounds during the victory.
This game has a ton of meaning for both sides as they have a realistic chance at coming away with the Big Ten regular season championship.
Illinois holds a one-game lead in the conference with both Purdue and Wicsonsin right behind.
Purdue is currently the favorite for this matchup projected to win by 5.5 points..
Whether the Boilermakers can get the job done again this time in front of the home crowd remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t be a shocker if they did.
Prediction: Purdue 77, Illinois 72
Logan Bourandas is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.