Good Morning, Illini Nation: 'It's going to be a bloody battle'

Mar. 30—Connecticut outrebounded San Diego State 50-29 on Thursday. That the Huskies were only able to turn 21 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points saved the Aztecs from losing by 40-plus instead of the 30-point beatdown they took in the Sweet 16.

Illinois also outrebounded Iowa State en route to its spot in Saturday's Elite Eight. It was a slightly smaller advantage on the glass for the Illini — just 41-37 — with eight second-chance points off 12 offensive rebounds.

The offensive glass is wear both teams clean up. UConn ranks 11th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, per Bart Torvik, getting back 36.8 percent of its misses. Illinois is 17th, with 35.9 percent of its misses coming back.

"It's going to be a bloody battle," UConn coach Dan Hurley said. "It's a rebounding war tomorrow. It's going to be a bloody one. The Big East and the Big Ten, two of the toughest leagues. You get real men playing in these two conferences.

"So when the ball goes up, whoever's fastest to it, whoever makes that first violent contact and then continues to improve their position. They're an excellent rebounding team. We're an excellent rebounding team. We both go to the offensive glass. I think (today) is going to be a fun game. I think the two top offenses in the country, NBA players up and down both roster.

"I know they're hungry to break through and get to a Final Four. We're hungry to get back to a Final Four. We're two of the truly best teams in the country."