Fighting Illini Basketball

Illinois vs. Michigan: Game Preview, Players to Watch, Key Stats

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini have climbed to the No. 4 spot in the latest AP Top 25 rankings, and they'll have their biggest test of the season on Tuesday as they head to Ann Arbor to taken on the No. 2-ranked Michigan Wolverines.

The Illini, fresh off wins over Nebraska and Wisconsin, are still aiming for a number one seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, and this week could go a long way toward earning that honor as they will face Michigan and Ohio State, a pair of top-10 teams with big aspirations of their own.

The games are the last two of the season for the Illini, with the Big Ten Tournament looming next week.

BOTTOM LINE: Illinois has four wins and three losses against ranked opponents this season, while Michigan has won six of its seven games against ranked teams.

SQUAD LEADERSHIP: The Fighting Illini have been led by Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn. Dosunmu has averaged 20.1 points, six rebounds and 5.1 assists while Cockburn has put up 17.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. The Wolverines have been anchored by Hunter Dickinson and Isaiah Livers, who are averaging 14.8 and 14.5 points, respectively.

Dosunmu has missed Illinois' last two games after suffering a facial injury against Michigan State, but he is hoping to return for the contest on Tuesday night.

ACCURATE AYO: Dosunmu has connected on 40 percent of the 70 3-pointers he's attempted. He's also converted 78 percent of his free throws this season.

STREAK STATS: Michigan has won its last 12 home games, scoring an average of 81.3 points while giving up 63.8.

ASSIST-TO-FG RATIO: The Fighting Illini have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Wolverines. Michigan has an assist on 40 of 88 field goals (45.5 percent) across its past three matchups while Illinois has assists on 40 of 79 field goals (50.6 percent) during its past three games.

STINGY DEFENSE: Michigan has held opposing teams to 38.4 percent shooting from the field this year, the lowest percentage among all Division I teams.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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