NCAA Men’s Basketball: Northwestern Wildcats vs Illinois Fighting Illini- Possible Lineups and Predictions

Published 01/07/2021, 3:00 PM EST
Dec 20, 2020; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guards Jacob Young (42) and Geo Baker (0) celebrate after defeating the Illinois Fighting Illini at Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports


NCAA Men’s Basketball action will continue when the #12 Illinois Fighting Illini take on the floundering Northwestern Wildcats. While the Wildcats were making a push to break into the AP Top 25 after wins over teams like the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans, they have lost their last two games.

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The Illinois Fighting Illini are 8-3 this season. Their biggest losses came at the hands of the Missouri Tigers and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. However, they have beaten a lot of elite teams and a win in this game will help them push into the top-10 of the rankings.

Illinois are 4-1 in the Big 10 Conference, only behind the undefeated Michigan Wolverines. The Wildcats are 3-2 and currently in fifth place in the conference. Both teams are talented, but the Fighting Illini are definitely the favorites. Can the Wildcats make something special happen?

NCAA Men’s Basketball: Can the Wildcats rebound with an upset win?

The Wildcats knew they had a tough run of fixtures, but their last few games have gone really badly for them. They are coming off losses to the Wolverines and the Iowa Hawkeyes. The momentum of this surging team has been snapped, while Illinois are just racking up wins.

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Dec 20, 2020; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats center Ryan Young (15) and forward Robbie Beran (31) celebrate a basket against the Michigan State Spartans during the second half at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois have won their last four games by an average of almost 17 points, showing that they are in a very dangerous spell right now. One of the main reasons for that is their super-efficient offensive sets which are backed up by great defensive effort by the team. They are genuine contenders this season and would like to move back up the standings.

The Fighting Illini will start with Trent Frazier, Adam Miller, Ayo Dosunmu, Da’Monte Williams, and Kofi Cockburn. The Northwestern Wildcats will line up with Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Miller Kopp, Robbie Beran, and Pete Nance Jr.

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For our prediction, we will go with the favorites in Illinois. Northwestern can upset any team on a good shooting night. However, their current slump may be hard to break out of against such a high-level opponent.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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