With Sunday's near-upset of Michigan State in the rearview mirror, Northwestern (10-6) returns to Welsh-Ryan Arena Wednesday night to face in-state rival Illinois (11-6).
The Wildcats had one of their best shooting performances of the season in their 84-77 overtime loss to the Spartans. Northwestern was uncharacteristically hot from beyond the arc, shooting 48 percent from deep. To put in perspective the rarity of that accomplishment: The Wildcats have shot that well from three just two other times in the Chris Collins era.
Illinois, on the other hand, is coming off its worst shooting display of the season. The Fighting Illini shot an abysmal 27.3 percent from the field in a 53-43 loss to Nebraska on Sunday. The Illini are still trying to find their offensive identity without leading scorer Rayvonte Rice, who is sidelined indefinitely with a broken hand.
Northwestern and Illinois sit 11th and 12th in the Big Ten standings respectively. If the opening line (even) is any indication, this game is up for grabs.
Time: 8 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN, 720 AM in Chicagoland and wgnradio.com
Line: The line opened at a "pick 'em," but has since climbed to 1.5 in favor of Illinois.
KenPom: KenPom gives the Wildcats a 43 percent chance of winning and picks Illinois to win 62-61.
Key Stat: Illinois has the fourth best turnover percentage in the nation and Northwestern has the second worst (350th) steal percentage in the country. So as Northwestern usually does, it will have to rely on an opponent missing shots rather than forcing turnovers.
Check back here a bit before game time for the gamethread, where you'll be able to chat with us about the action as it happens.