The No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers are set to play their first game in their second reign as the top team in the country this season, after dominating the previous No. 1 Michigan Wolverines in their last game.
Tonight, Tom Crean will lead his team into Champaign, Illinois to take on a struggling Illinois team. They will be playing in the same hall as if they were home, but will not have the home court advantage tonight.
Like Indiana, Illinois also plays in Assembly Hall and they are not actually the same buildings, but share the same name. The Assembly Hall in Illinois is one place where the Hoosiers just hate to play. In their last 10 visits to Illinois’ Assembly Hall, they have lost 9 of them.
Now that is a stat that if a team hears, makes them not even believe they can win in that gym. Even though Indiana is No. 1 in the country and Illinois is 2-7 in the Big 10 after starting the season 15-1, there is just the sense of “we own” Indiana when we play them home. The Fighting Illini are going to go into this game with all the confidence in the world. They don’t have anything to lose in this game, all they have is something to gain.
Going on the road in conference play always makes it difficult to win, but going on the road to place where you have won 1 game in your last 10 trips has to make it even harder to win.
The Illinois crowd is going to be bumping and the players are going have a great amount of energy and Indiana needs to just come out hot out of the gate.
Indiana is entering unfriendly territory tonight and Illinois is going to try and take full advantage of Indiana’s lack of success in the Fighting Illini’s version of Assembly Hall.