Smile Politely

Illinois-Minnesota preview

Minnesota (8-19, 2-13)
All time:
120-65 (last: Illinois 76, Minnesota 71 OT, 1/23/16 in St. Paul)
Tip-off: 7 pm
TV: Big Ten Network

If Illini fans would like a chance to say goodbye to this season on, potentially, a good note then the schedule finally did them a favor. Minnesota, as well as Rutgers, have spared Illinois the ignominious fate of being the worst team in the conference this year. And if you look at the records, it wasn’t that close.

Minnesota’s team is young: Only one starter is an upperclassman, two are true freshmen. Minnesota’s team does not score well: Only three players are averaging double digits, out of 12 eligible players. However, the Gophers are on a two-game win streak, beginning with a shocking upset of Maryland at home and followed-up with a more reasonable win over lowly Rutgers.

Last time these teams met, it took Illinois overtime to get the win. Hopefully, playing at home, such an effort would be unnecessary. Such thoughts have been proven silly by the Illini before, though. So who the hell knows what’s going to happen tonight.

Likely starting lineups

Minnesota: Nate Mason, guard; Dupree McBrayer, guard; Charles Buggs, forward; Jordan Murphy, forward; Bakary Konate, center

Illinois: Khalid Lewis, guard; Jalen Coleman-Lands, guard; Kendrick Nunn, guard; Malcolm Hill, guard; Maverick Morgan, center

Gut feeling

Watch the Oscars instead.

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