Northwestern (16-9 overall, 4-8 Big Ten) looks to keep its postseason hopes alive when it hosts in-state rival Illinois (11-13, 3-8) Saturday night.
With just six regular season games remaining the Wildcats are running out of chances to impress the NIT Selection Committee. A win over the 12th-place team in the Big Ten wouldn't strongly impact Northwestern's NIT chances, but a loss certainly would. Decimated by injuries, John Groce's bunch has largely disappointed this season.
Since losing to Iowa on Feb. 7, the Fighting Illini have essentially been on a "bye week", which has given battered starters Kendrick Nunn and Michael Finke time to recover from nagging injuries. Groce, however, did announce on Friday that his team will be without senior center Mike Thorne Jr. and sophomore forward Leron Black, who are still recovering from knee injuries.
This is the lone meeting between Northwestern and Illinois this season. The Illini swept the season series last year and are 132-39 all-time against Northwestern.
For more insight into Saturday's matchup check out our detailed game preview.