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Basketball Preview: We’re Talkin’ Illinois

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Iowa State will have another opportunity for a win this afternoon

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Arizona Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State let one slip away last night, but there are still plenty of opportunities for Iowa State to snag some wins win Maui and have a successful trip.

Last Time Out

It didn’t end well. Iowa State controlled the game for 30 minutes, getting looks they wanted and outplaying Arizona in almost every way possible. Iowa State led by 11 points with 10 minutes to play before Arizona took over and Iowa State just couldn’t do anything right to keep up. Arizona went on a 12-2 run to tie the game at 56 with five minutes left. The game then went back and forth a bit before Arizona hit some free throws to take the lead and never look back.

Marial Shayok led the way once again with 19 points. Talen Horton-Tucker and Michael Jacobson each added 16 of their own. Iowa State scored 0 bench points on the night.

About Illinois

Coming into the Maui Invitational, Illinois was the 76th ranked team according to Ken Pom. The Illini return four of their key players from last years team and added a top 25 recruiting class before the season started. Illinois is now 1-2 on the season, beating Evansville 99-60 in the season opener and now two close losses to Georgetown and Gonzaga.

Brad Underwood is entering his second season at Illinois, but we’re somewhat familiar with him after his one season at Oklahoma State. Illinois averages around 75 points per game last season, and so far this year they are above that to start. The Illini had two four star recruits that came in to start the season. Ayo Dosunmu is a 6’4” combo guard from Chicago, who is very familiar with Talen Horton-Tucker.

Illinois comes in scoring 107.1 points per 100 possessions (72nd in the NCAA), while allowing just 98.3 points per 100 possessions (88th in the NCAA) on the defensive end of the floor. Illinois speeds up opposing teams with their defensive pressure. They rank first in the NCAA in defensive turnover percentage at 29.2 percent and opposing teams are getting shots up in an average of just 15 seconds on the offensive end. The problem for Illinois has been that the pressure has often led to easy looks at the rim, which has contributed to an opponent two-point percentage that ranks among the worst teams in college basketball. Opposing teams are shooting 59.6 percent from inside the arc (322nd in the NCAA).

Opponent Player To Watch

Trent Frazier. The sophomore guard is averaging 19.5 points per game. Many thought he may not play in Maui due to a concussion, but last night he went off on Gonzaga for 29 points. He’s going to provide a problem that Arizona got away with last night in the second half. Frazier has a great shot and can light it up from anywhere outside the three point line. Frazier is currently shooting 42% from 3PT range and 41% from the field. Slow down Frazier this afternoon, and Iowa State should be in the game.

What To Expect

We saw Iowa State play well last night. They aren’t going to have issues like they did last season. What took them out of it in the second half was going away from their successes in the first half and poor shooting. Illinois plays a lot like Arizona, so it won’t be anything Iowa State hasn’t seen, but Illinois may be a lot better than anyone is giving them credit for. This won’t be an easy one at all. I don’t think Illinois is just quite there all around as Arizona is yet, Iowa State will certainly have their chances at the rim and in transition if Illinois’ trends continue. I like Steve Prohm’s bunch to rebound here but it will be close due to the Illini defense.

Iowa State- 72 Illinois-70

Pick Three

1- Talen Horton-Tucker plays well in both halves.

2- Marial Shayok once again is the leading scorer.

3- Iowa State improves second half issues.

Game Notes

Where: Maui, HI - Lahaina Civic Center (2,400)

When: Tuesday, Nov. 20th, 4 p.m. (CST)

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network with John Walters and Eric Heft

TV: ESPN 2

Line Open: Iowa State -2