Game 19 preview | No. 10 Illinois at Northwestern; 8 p.m., Wednesday

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No. 10 Illinois (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten)


G/F Ty Rodgers So. 6-6 6.6 Saginaw, Mich.

G/F Marcus Domask Gr. 6-6 14.7 Waupun, Wis.

G Luke Goode Jr. 6-7 7.4 Fort Wayne, Ind.

F Quincy Guerrier Gr. 6-8 11.6 Montreal

F Coleman Hawkins Sr. 6-10 11.3 Sacramento, Calif.

FYI: Terrence Shannon Jr., who got a "we'll see" from Brad Underwood when the Illini coach was asked Tuesday if Shannon would return to the starting lineup for Wednesday's game, has actually been more productive away from State Farm Center this season. Shannon is averaging 27 points, 6.5 rebounds, five assists and 1.5 blocks in four games away from home — two true road games against Rutgers and Tennessee and two neutral-site games against Florida Atlantic and Missouri. Both of Shannon's 30-point games came in the latter, with 33 in the win against FAU and 30 in Braggin' Rights.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Terrence Shannon Jr. Sr. 6-6 21.3 Chicago

G Justin Harmon Gr. 6-4 7.1 Chicago

F/C Dain Dainja R-Jr. 6-9 6.2 Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Northwestern (13-5, 4-3 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Boo Buie Gr. 6-2 17.9 Albany, N.Y.

G Ty Berry Sr. 6-3 11.3 Newton, Kan.

G Ryan Langborg Gr. 6-4 11.4 San Diego

G Brooks Barnhizer Jr. 6-6 14.4 Lafayette, Ind.

C Matthew Nicholson Sr. 7-0 4.9 Clarkston, Mich.

FYI: Barnhizer is coming off a career-high 24-point performance in Northwestern's 75-69 loss at Nebraska on Saturday. Two of his three career 20-point games have happened this month, with the junior guard also scoring 23 points during the Wildcats' 76-72 win at Penn State on Jan. 10.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

F Luke Hunger So. 6-10 3.8 Montreal

F Nick Martinelli So. 6-7 6.9 Glenview

F Blake Preston Gr. 6-9 2.0 Charlotte, N.C.


Site:Welsh-Ryan Arena (7,039); Evanston.

Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Doug Altenberger (analysis) will have the call on the Illini Sports Network on WDWS 1400-AM, WDWS 93.9-FM, WHMS 97.5-FM, WPXN 104.9-FM, WDAN-1490-AM and WDNL 102.1-FM.

TV: Connor Onion (play-by-play) and Robbie Hummel (analysis) will have the call on BTN.

Series: Illinois leads 144-43.

Last meeting: Illinois won 96-66 on Jan. 2.

FYI: Illinois' 73-60 loss to Northwestern in Evanston last January snapped a three-game winning streak for the Illini at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Beat writer Scott Richey's storylines

'Life on the road in the Big Ten'

Wednesday's game at Northwestern will be Terrence Shannon Jr.'s first on the road since his suspension, following a charge of rape in Lawrence, Kan., was reversed by judicial decree and he was reinstated by Illinois. The crowd at State Farm Center cheered Shannon when he checked into Sunday's game against Rutgers. But Brad Underwood didn't give much credence to the question when asked how he might coach Shannon — or the Illinois team at large — through what could be a vitriolic response from the Welsh-Ryan Arena crowd. "It's life on the road in the Big Ten," the Illini coach said. "It's going to be animated, as always. It's always a raucous crowd when we go to Evanston and when we go on the road. That's the beauty of this league. There's sellout crowds everywhere and great, passionate fan bases. Our job is to go play basketball ... and try to do the best we can to eliminate all the outside."

'Old men' an advantage for Illinois

Underwood's answer to the second-half run Rutgers made that cut its deficit to four points on Sunday was a major round of substitutions. Marcus Domask, Quincy Guerrier and Coleman Hawkins joined Shannon and Justin Harmon in the oldest possible lineup Illinois could field. A lineup that pushed the Illini's lead back to 20 in 51/2 minutes. "We were all, for lack of a better term, old men," Underwood said. "We answered that bell, and that's a nice response to see." Illinois has leaned on that experience to be one of the few Big Ten teams with multiple road wins. "Us being connected will help us to win games on the road," Guerrier said. "The teams that are going to win games on the road are the teams that are really mature and connected."

Expectations for the Northwestern defense

Illinois' 96-66 victory against Northwestern earlier this month was, statistically, the Illini's most efficient offensive performance of the season. Domask's 32 points led four players in double figures. Domask and Ty Rodgers combined for 10 of Illinois' 17 assists on 35 made shots. The Illini had every answer for a Northwestern defense that doubled nearly every possession in the post. While Underwood said his team will adjust to what the Wildcats do defensively Wednesday night — centered on how they choose to defend Rodgers — he doesn't expect many wholesale changes. "Since (assistant coach) Chris Lowery has been there on staff, they've always kind of done what they do, and they've been really good at it," Underwood said. "Second-place finish last year and led the league defensively, and they're right there in contention again."

The News-Gazette's pick

No. 10 Illinois 82, Northwestern 73

Don't count on Wednesday night's game in Evanston being a repeat of the 30-point thrashing Illinois put on Northwestern earlier this month. Mostly because the Wildcats have been a much better team at Welsh-Ryan Arena than away from it. Northwestern is 9-1 at home this season with an early December win against then-No. 1 Purdue. But the Wildcats are clearly not infallible on their home court. If Chicago State can beat Northwestern in Evanston, so can Illinois. (N-G prediction record: 16-2).