Preview: Michigan Opens B1G Hosting Illinois

Josh Newkirk and Kyle Bogenschutz break down Michigan's B1G opener with Illinois, look at how the holidays helped the Wolverines, and the primary focus for shutting down the Illini.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Ready or not Big Ten conference play is here.

After struggling through a 7-5 non-conference slate, the Michigan basketball team is set to open up the B1G grind beginning Tuesday afternoon at Crisler Center against Illinois (10-3).

The Illini come in looking very similar to the Wolverines despite the difference in records, Illinois beating Oregon in the early season, also losing to Villanova in the Jimmy V Classic.

Illinois is led by fifth-year senior guard Rayvonte Rice averaging 17.7 points per game as well as 6.5 rebounds a contest despite being listed at 6-foot-4.

Coming off the holiday break, John Beilein was pleased with productive practices from his young team, still leary of injuries or simply overworking his veterans moving forward.

Josh Newkirk and Kyle Bogenschutz break down Michigan's 3 p.m. tip-off with Illinois.

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