Horner: Illinois beatable

Iowa's Jeff Horner handed out the compliments to Illinois on Tuesday. But the junior point guard said the Hawkeyes will not be in awe when they head to Champaign on Thursday: "We're not going to go in there thinking we can't win the game. I definitely think we can. We just have to come out and play hard." Read more from Horner in the HN.com Premium Q&A.

What do you think of this Illinois team?

They're fast, athletic. They don't turn the ball over. That's probably why they're 18-0 and No. 1 in the country. I'm just really excited we get to play them. It's not every day you get to play the No. 1 team in the country. We're going to be ready to play and we're just going to go out and play our hardest.

Over the years, what are some of the better college basketball teams you've seen and could this be the best college basketball team you've ever seen?

That's tough to compare. Duke has had so many great teams; Kentucky. All of those teams are just so good.

Illinois is just as fast and athletic as most of those teams. They take care of the ball. It would be great to watch Illinois play some of those great teams and see where they did stand out.

But we're not going to go in there thinking we can't win the game. I definitely think we can. We just have to come out and play hard.

My freshman year, they were ranked in the Top 10, maybe, or a little higher than that. Our team was expected not to really do anything. And we beat them.

We have a better team this year, and obviously they have a better team this year. So, an upset, that would be really nice.

Can you take anything away from being able to play them really well last year in Champaign?

Yeah. We turned the ball over a lot down there last year and only lost by six or eight or something like that. We're definitely going to have that game as something to feed off of.

In here, they kind of came in here and took it to us. So, you can't really look at that game. Coach said we were down by one with five minutes to go in the first half last year here. We couldn't finish the half. We've been working on finishing the half and not turning the ball over.

They don't turn the ball over very much. As a ballhandler, does that really strike you?

Yeah. They're like plus-180 or something. That's just amazing. We had 13 assists and 15 turnovers last game.

To think that they turn the ball over only seven times a game, it's going to be pretty tough to get a lot of turnovers in transition. Hopefully they mess up here or there and we can get a couple. But rebounding and if we can run with them and play our all-around game, we'll be all right.

So, you do run with them?

I think so. You pick and choose. On misses, we've been running really well this year. We definitely want to run on misses. On makes, last week we started to slow it up a little bit and just get into our transition game.

Who do you match up with?

I think I'm guarding Dee. Pierre is probably going to guard Deron. Adam has got Luther. Bru has got Powell. Erek has got Augustine.

How tough is it to go up againt Dee because he is so quick?

He's so fast. I've played against him since I was a sophomore in high school. He hasn't slowed down a bit.

He's a very good shooter. You've just always got to look out for him. You definitely want to take him out of the game.

Has he added dimensions to his game or is he just better at everything he's done before?

He's just better at everything he was good at before. The thing that we want to make him do is not get those transition baskets that he gets almost every game and get him in the half court trying to take it to the basket instead of shooting those threes.

He's pretty deadly from outside. They're whole team is just very talented.

Obviously you guys are not happy with shooting 34 percent on Saturday. Are you getting the kind of shots you want?

Definitely. After the week off, we were pretty pumped up to finally play again after two losses. The first thing you want to do is get out there and play another game.

We were pretty pumped up to play. People were kind of getting the nerves out again and getting the rust out. We've got a game under our belts now. Hopefully we can just feed on that.

Have you been on teams that have beaten Dee Brown?

We beat them my freshman year in here.

But what about before you got to Iowa?

Yeah, Brunner and I beat his AAU team in Indiana one year. I don't think they had all of their players. But we got them pretty good.


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