Odds are that the Illini are going to win tonight. I mean, there's a reason that they're favored by 11.5 points in the game, and that Ken Pomeroy says there's an 88% chance they'll win.
But tonight also presents the biggest challenge that the Illini will have faced as well, and there's a chance things could go wrong.
We all know how young this team is, and that we have to rely on that youth quite a bit. But what we also know is that the Illini were outrebounded by Jacksonville State on Sunday night. A Jacksonville State whose tallest player was 6'8.
Well, the Valpo team that the Illini are facing on Wednesday night has size and a lot of it. Both Bobby Capobianco -- sounds Irish! -- and Vashil Fernandez check in at 6'10 and 235 and 245 pounds respectively. Now, through two games those two are averaging a combined 11.5 rebounds per game, which isn't amazing, but that kind of size could present problems for the Illini.
Nnanna Egwu should be able to hold his own on the boards, but I do have serious concerns about both Austin Cobert and Maverick Morgan against Valpo's senior bigs tonight. Odds are both will be forced into action a bit more than they have been in the first two games, as I don't think Nnanna is going to be able to avoid fouls tonight as well as he has through the first two games. He's going to have to truly defend in the post tonight, as Capobianco and Fernandez are contributing 18.5 points per game so far as well.
So that's something to keep an eye on tonight for those of you who will be watching the Illini for the first time this season since the game is actually on real-life television.