No. 7 Iowa meets No. 19 Illinois in battle of bigs

As basketball has develop into extra position-less, a matchup of respectable back-to-the-basket facilities has gone the best way of black-and-white TVs or civility in politics.

One would possibly need to discuss with Friday evening’s Large Ten Convention showdown between No. 7 Iowa and No. 19 Illinois in Champaign, In poor health., as a blast from the previous. With 6-foot-11, 265-pound Hawkeye Luka Garza banging our bodies towards 7-foot, 285-pound Kofi Cockburn, the paint would be the place to look at.

Garza is the consensus favourite to win nationwide participant of the yr honors. The senior leads the Large Ten with a mean of 26.9 factors per recreation whereas including 8.9 rebounds and blocking almost two photographs per recreation. Garza is scoring effectively, hitting 61 % from the sphere and 75.5 % on the foul line.

Cockburn averaged 13.Three factors and eight.Eight rebounds per recreation final season as a freshman, though he was simply as able to touchdown in foul hassle as he was to go for 20 and 10. This season, he’s scoring 17.Four factors and grabbing 10.Three rebounds an evening, canning 70.1 % of his photographs and flashing extra consistency.

Whereas Cockburn’s immense measurement benefit results in its share of thunderous dunks and warmup layups, he additionally has confirmed the flexibility to make use of the glass as if he had been Tim Duncan 2.0.

Cockburn has additionally displayed a tender fallaway jumper, a weapon his future NBA coach would possibly choose to remain underneath wraps.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has seen the plain enchancment in Cockburn’s recreation.

“He was extra one-dimensional final yr,” McCaffery stated. “He isn’t a lot this yr. He was all the time large and powerful, however I believe his stamina is significantly better. He is extra comfy with the fellows that play with him.”

Who would not be comfy with a risk comparable to Ayo Dosunmu, whose common of 21.7 factors per recreation ranks solely behind Garza within the convention?

Dosunmu is canning 49 % of his photographs whereas discovering time to chip in 6.Three rebounds and 4.9 assists per recreation.

Even on nights like Jan. 19, when Penn State ran double-teams at Dosunmu all evening and held him to 13 factors within the Combating Illini’s 79-65 win, he nonetheless impacts the feel of a recreation. He turned distributor, bagging a team-high 5 assists.

Illinois (10-5, 6-Three Large Ten) drew assists on 18 of 26 discipline objectives in that recreation because it snapped a two-game dropping streak, enjoying with extra depth than it had displayed in weeks.

“We had 18 assists in a single basketball recreation. That is actually nice,” Cockburn stated, in response to the (Champaign, In poor health.) Information-Gazette. “We elevated one another … enjoying for one another, trusting one another to make the shot, making an additional cross. Hand over a great shot for a fantastic shot.”

The Hawkeyes (12-3, 6-2) have not performed since an 81-69 upset residence loss on Jan. 21 to Indiana, which worn out a second-half deficit with a surprising 23-Three run. Garza provided 28 factors and 12 rebounds, however Iowa clanged away to the tune of 26.5 % after halftime.

The Friday recreation would be the season’s solely assembly between the groups. Illinois and Iowa break up two matchups final season, every successful at residence.

–Area Degree Media

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