Game 23 preview | No. 10 Illinois at Michigan State; 1 p.m., Saturday

Feb. 10—Lineups

No. 10 Illinois (17-5, 8-3 Big Ten)


G/F Marcus Domask Gr. 6-6 15.7 Waupun, Wis.

G Terrence Shannon Jr. Sr. 6-6 20.0 Chicago

G/F Ty Rodgers So. 6-6 7.0 Saginaw, Mich.

F Quincy Guerrier Gr. 6-8 11.0 Montreal

F Coleman Hawkins Sr. 6-10 12.0 Sacramento, Calif.

FYI: Domask has scored in double figures in each of his last 13 games and 15 of his last 16 (a six-point effort in the loss at Tennessee the lone outlier). The veteran guard took a few weeks to get settled after four seasons at Southern Illinois and averaged 8.2 points on 36 percent shooting in his first six games. Since, Domask has averaged 18.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 47 percent overall and 90 percent at the free throw line.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Luke Goode Jr. 6-7 7.1 Fort Wayne, Ind.

G Justin Harmon Gr. 6-4 6.8 Chicago

F/C Dain Dainja R-Jr. 6-9 5.7 Brooklyn Park, Minn.

Michigan State (14-9, 6-6 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G A.J. Hoggard Sr. 6-4 11.2 Coatesville, Pa.

G Tyson Walker Gr. 6-1 19.0 Westbury, N.Y.

G Jaden Akins Jr. 6-4 11.0 Farmington, Mich.

F Malik Hall Gr. 6-8 11.3 Aurora

C Mady Sissoko Sr. 6-9 4.2 Bafoulabe, Mali

FYI: Walker (20 points) and Akins (16 points) accounted for 64 percent of Michigan State's scoring in its 59-56 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday. It was only the second time this season the Spartans were held to fewer than 60 points, but they rank just 11th in the Big Ten in scoring at 74.5 points per game. Checking in at second defensively in the league giving up 65 points per game helps.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

C Cooper Carson So. 6-11 3.6 Jackson, Mich.

G Tre Holloman So. 6-2 5.7 Minneapolis

F Coen Carr Fr. 6-5 3.8 East Point, Ga.


➜ Site: Jack Breslin Student Events Center (14,797); East Lansing, Mich.

➜ Radio: Brian Barnhart (play-by-play) and former Illini Deon Thomas (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: Andrew Catalon (play-by-play) and Steve Lappas (analysis) will have the call on CBS.

➜ Series: Series tied 64-64.

➜ Last meeting: Illinois won 71-68 on Jan. 11 in Champaign.

➜ FYI: Brad Underwood is 1-3 against Michigan State in games played on the Spartans' home floor during his tenure as Illinois coach. The last win doubles as the last trip the Illini made to East Lansing, Mich. Kofi Cockburn scored a game-high 27 points, Jacob Grandison added 24 points and Trent Frazier hit a dagger three-pointer with 23 seconds to play that sealed the 79-75 victory.

Beat writer Scott Richey's storylines

Dainja providing change of pace in post

Coleman Hawkins' foul trouble at Ohio State allowed Dain Dainja to play a more substantial role than he had in weeks. Dainja delivered, putting up seven points and five rebounds in the Illini's road win against the Buckeyes. Illinois' backup big man still isn't playing major minutes with Hawkins the primary option at the 5, but he's been more productive in his role. Dainja followed up his performance at Ohio State with six points and three rebounds in nine minutes in the Illini's overtime win against Nebraska. "They're different, so that helps," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said of using Hawkins and Dainja. "It's a completely different impact in terms of what Dain brings. The one thing Dain has been really consistent about is his running. He's running extremely hard. He's been on the offensive glass. His efficiency has been very high."

Good start needed on the road

Underwood cautioned his team a month ago that Michigan State might arrive in Champaign for the first Big Ten matchup of the season between the teams with a little extra fire. The Spartans were coming off a double-digit loss at Northwestern, and wound up playing Illinois to a three-point game at State Farm Center. Saturday's game comes in a similar situation given Michigan State dropped a 59-56 game at Minnesota on Tuesday. "They're fighting for their lives," Dainja said. "I'm expecting for it to be a packed house. With us it's just getting off to a good start. All our away games we got off to a good start. Our energy is there. Everybody is engaged."

Rebounding all about one thing: effort

Quincy Guerrier didn't fully return to his double-double ways against Nebraska, but the veteran Illini forward was closer after struggling in his previous two outings. While Cornhuskers guard Keisei Tominaga did a fairly effective job of keeping Guerrier off the offensive glass, the Illini's leading rebounder still finished with 12 points and seven boards. Underwood had a single reason for that return to form. "Effort, effort, effort and effort," the Illinois coach said. "It's just a matter of turning up that motor to the highest RPM and going as hard as you can go when you're in. ... His rate of going to the glass was very, very high."

The News-Gazette's pick

Michigan State 74, No. 10 Illinois 72

Save for its Big Ten opener two months ago against Wisconsin, Michigan State has only lost road games in conference play. The Spartans are 12-2 at home this season, with the only other loss coming in their season opener against James Madison. Michigan State has a plus-74 scoring differential in Big Ten home games and minus-42 away from East Lansing in league play. Couple that with the Spartans needing a "get right" game after a rough showing at Minnesota on Tuesday and the fact they only lost by three at Illinois last month and this could be a tricky one for the Illini. (N-G prediction record: 19-3)