Say it in a sentence: Hey, the Big Ten is back.
I know there were some sloppy moments. Indiana had 13 turnovers, Illinois had a few stretches of poor shooting (0-7 from 3) and Coach John Groce was hit for a technical after repeatedly disagreeing with the officials. Still, all of that combined with long moments of good basketball, leaving the action and atmosphere as intense as ever.
Player of the half:
Illinois: Rayvonte Rice. The junior had 13 points, three rebounds and three steals, proving himself plenty capable in a Big Ten contest.
Indiana: Noah Vonleh. Like Rice, the freshman big man proved himself ready in his first conference game. Vonleh scored 13 points and had five rebounds.
How Illinois can win: Continue to play sound defense for the most part and force Indiana into committing turnovers. Offensively, things should continue funneling through Rice and Abrams, with Bertrand and Ekey crashing the boards or picking their spots on the perimeter.
How Illinois can lose: Allow the Hoosiers to get up and down and turn this into a transition track meet. Indiana is at it's best when it's running -- not in the half court set.