It’s the Jimmy V Classic, it’s Madison Square Garden, and the Illini will take on a terrific Texas team in the first game of the doubleheader
The stage is set for the 2022 Jimmy V Classic from MSG, with the #17 Illini playing #2 Texas, followed by #15 Duke taking on Iowa. This should be a terrific doubleheader on ESPN with the Big Ten trying to prove its value further against quality opponents. The Illini are about to face their third quality opponent on a neutral site this season, they’re 1-1 with a win over UCLA and a loss to Virginia. This should be an incredible game.
Projected Starting Lineups
- G Tyrese Hunter (6-foot-0) (26 pts / 9-14 FG vs. Gonzaga) (Iowa St transfer)
- G Marcus Carr (6-foot-2) (3 career games vs ILL – 25/44/93, 11.6 ppg)
- G Timmy Allen (6-foot-6) (11/7/4 in win over Creighton)
- F Dillon Mitchell (6-foot-8) (5-star freshman, #5 overall on 247Sports)
- F Dylan Disu (6-foot-9) (80% from 2pt range this season – 21/26)
Texas returned two starters from last season, Carr and Allen. They also landed point guard Tyrese Hunter from Iowa State, he had a phenomenal freshman season. Outside of that, they have stud freshman Mitchell and New Mexico State transfer Sir’Jabari Rice off the bench. This is a super well-coached and elite defensive team. Longhorn head coach Chris Beard is one of the best in the country, and he coached Illini star Terrence Shannon Jr. for a couple of seasons at Texas Tech.
- G Skyy Clark
- G RJ Melendez
- G Terrence Shannon Jr.
- F Matthew Mayer
- F Coleman Hawkins
The lineup will remain the same for Brad Underwood at MSG. However, there’s been some questions around the fan base about the possibility of moving Mayer out of the lineup, but I don’t see it. This lineup fits well with the Texas matchup, they have the length and athleticism to keep up with them. I’m looking for Shannon Jr. and Mayer to play well against their former Big 12 foe.
The Analytics Between the Two Teams
- Adjusted Offensive Efficiency – ILL 34th, TEX 15th
- Adjusted Defensive Efficiency – ILL 12th, TEX 3rd
- Adjusted Tempo – ILL 22nd, TEX 149th
- All-Play Percentage – ILL 13th, TEX 6th
- Offensive Efficiency – ILL 32nd, TEX 35th
- Defensive Efficiency – ILL 13th, TEX 3rd
Players to Watch & Prediction
- Players to Watch
- Texas – Marcus Carr
- Former Minnesota guard Carr has had a terrific start to his second season at Texas. He scored over 15 points in the last four games, including 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists against Creighton. Carr struggled against Trent Frazier during his previous matchups with the Illini, but maybe that will change with a new uniform, coach, and different opposing guards.
- Illinois – Skyy Clark
- Guard play is super important in college basketball, and this game should feature some important ones. I’m curious to see how Clark handles his matchups with either Carr or Hunter, as they are two good ones. Let’s see if Underwood will trust Clark in this game to stay in during late-game situations, where he had Jayden Epps in late against Maryland.
- Texas – Marcus Carr
- Illinois wins 65-61
This might be viewed as a bold prediction, but I think the Illini have a quality chance in this game. They won at MSG against a good Maryland team on Jan. 26, 2019, which doesn’t mean much in terms of THIS game, but Underwood is 1-0 there (so that’s cool).
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