If you tuned in to watch an offensive shootout between two teams who boast top-10 offenses, then what you’ve seen through one half of Tuesday night’s tilt between No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 Illinois might’ve left you longing for more. Thus far it’s been a physical, defensive battle, with both teams feeding their bigs. To that strategy after 20 minutes of game play, it’s a resounding Illinois advantage.
The Illini led 33-22 at the break. And they held that lead without the services of All-American Ayo Dosunmu, who is out nursing a facial injury. In his place, big man Kofi Cockburn has taken hold of the reins. Cockburn has six points and four boards banging against Michigan big Hunter Dickinson down low. Illini guard Andre Curbelo also stepped up big in the first half, with 11 points, five boards and two assists to give his team the early edge.
The Wolverines likely won’t go quietly, however. This team has taken only one loss all season and is still riding a seven-game winning streak. After hitting only one of five 3-point attempts in the first half and going 9-of-28 from the floor, we should be in for a regression for UM as it looks to keep its streak rolling.