CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Riding a four-game Big Ten winning streak, the Illini now are now above .500 heading into Thursday’s massive game against the Indiana Hoosiers.
“We did a much better job on the boards [against Minnesota], that will be huge for [Thursday’s] game,” said head coach Brad Underwood. “The Hoosiers do a great job of offensive rebounding.”
Coach Underwood and freshman Ty Rodgers met with the media before practice Wednesday afternoon. Both were very excited heading into arguably the biggest conference game of this young season.
“It’s big for all of us,” Rodgers said. “Especially [for] guys like Luke [Goode] who are from Indiana, so it’s gonna be a good one.”
Assistant coach and former Illini player Chester Frazier made some noise on Twitter posting the famous video of him aggressively chest bumping current Houston Rockets guard (and former Illinois decommit) Eric Gordon in 2008.
“I got excited, man,” Rodgers said. “Coach Fraze, he’s a dog.”
The intense history of this rivalry has this Illini team extra fired up for this crucial Big Ten matchup.
The Illini are now 4-3 in Big Ten play, sitting at fourth in the conference. With only conference games remaining for Illinois, every game left is extremely important for Big Ten Tournament and March Madness seedings.
“We’re going to have to play extremely well,” Underwood said. “We’ll have to be dialed in, we’ll have to keep them off the glass, keep them out of transition and it should be another tough Big Ten game.”