The Iowa Hawkeyes are safely in the NCAA Tournament, but the team could really use a few good performances before the Big Dance starts. Tonight, they start Big Ten Tournament action.
Iowa has lost its last four games, and five of the last six. That stretch also included a suspension for head coach Fran McCaffery.
The good news? Tonight, the Hawkeyes face 12-20 Illinois.
The Illini are just 12-20, with a 7-13 Big Ten record. They did pick up a 74-69 win over Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to make it to tonight’s game, but it took overtime to outlast the lowly Wildcats.
Illinois obviously needs to win the Big Tournament to make the post-season at all. Tonight could be the end of the line for Brad Underwood’s club.
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index has Iowa as a strong favorite to win tonight’s game against Illinois.
Iowa has a 70.8-percent chance to win, per the computer metric:
The winner of tonight’s game will advance to face No. 3 seed Michigan in Chicago tomorrow night.
Iowa and Illinois are set to tip off at approximately 9:25 p.m. ET tonight. The game will be broadcast on Big Ten Network. The Hawkeyes are a four-point favorite.