The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

No. 14 Illinois men’s basketball looks to bounce back against Michigan

Redshirt+junior+Dain+Dainja+dunks+against+Michigan+today.
Redshirt junior Dain Dainja dunks against Michigan today.

The schedule has picked up again for No. 14 Illinois men’s basketball, with just two days separating its trip to Michigan State and its meeting with Michigan. The Illini begin the second leg of their season series with the Wolverines at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. 

A little over three weeks separate the meetings between these squads, with Illinois taking an easy victory in round one (88-73). Game two will only be more difficult for the Wolverines, who are now the visitors. On top of that, fifth-year guard Terrence Shannon Jr. is available for Tuesday night’s game after missing the last matchup due to his suspension.

Shannon is Illinois’ top scorer and is coming off of his best game since returning to action. Despite the 88-80 loss to Michigan State, Shannon accounted for 28 points, seven rebounds and an assist. It was the second time in the last six games that the Chicago native had 20 or more points.

Senior forward Coleman Hawkins has been consistently stepping up for Illinois as of late, most recently notching 14 points and seven assists at Michigan State. His presence on the defensive end is one of Illinois’ most vital weapons. The two steals he grabbed in East Lansing, Michigan, were a typical display of his excellence on top of the Illini outscoring the Spartans by two points during his 33 minutes. Michigan State’s damage came in Illinois’ seven minutes without Hawkins, flipping the count by 10 points.

On the other end of the court, the taste of the Wolverines’ best win of the season still lingers. Last Wednesday, Michigan upset No. 11 Wisconsin for its third conference win of the season (72-68). This cemented Wisconsin’s free fall, which leaves it tied for third place in the Big Ten despite a scorching hot 8-1 start to conference play.

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Michigan is still comfortably at the bottom of the Big Ten standings (3-10) and followed that up with a 20-point loss at Nebraska but has proven that it is no longer a complete pushover. 

“This is a talented Michigan team,” Underwood said. “Obviously to beat Wisconsin … they’ve proven their talent level and we’re going to have to be good. They’re one of the top offensive-rebounding teams in the Big Ten, if not the top right now. I expect a hard game, and we’ve got to play much better and much tougher than we did the other night.”

Illinois men’s basketball tips off against Michigan at 6 p.m. CT on Tuesday. The game can be streamed on Peacock.

 

@blountco21

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About the Contributor
Conor Blount, Senior Sports Reporter
My name is Conor Blount. I’m a junior in aerospace engineering with a minor in computer science. I joined The Daily Illini in the summer of 2022 as a beat writer for the sports section and am now one of three assistant sports editors. My first beat was women’s tennis before I moved to women’s basketball in the spring. I also had the pleasure of covering several former Illini at the 2023 NFL draft and NBA summer league. If you have any questions, I can be reached at the email below.
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