Illinois' Brandon Paul gets his shot blocked by Gonzaga's Elias Harris during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in Chicago. Gonzaga defeated Illinois 85-83 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching) By Jim Prisching
After losing a heartbreaker to Gonzaga in overtime Saturday, Illinois will return to a place that has offered it solace this season. The Illini will host the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Assembly Hall on Tuesday evening, where they are 8-0 this season and 85-16 under head coach Bruce Weber.
Despite Iowa sitting in the Big Ten cellar at 0-2, Illinois cannot overlook its conference opponent, as it has lost three of its past four games itself – meaning nothing is certain anymore for the Orange and Blue. Weber said the Hawkeyes run a lot of screens and that their shooters will force the Illini to guard more than they did in their nonconference games.
“I just challenged them,” Weber said of the team’s play on defense. “If we want to compete in the Big Ten — I think we’ve got enough ability to do that — we have to make a choice and make a decision to make defense a little bit of a priority.”
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