IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa hosts Illinois on Saturday looking to climb back to .500 in the Big Ten men’s basketball standings.
The Hawkeyes (14-12, 6-7 BIg Ten) enter the weekend in eighth place in the conference race, but they are one win behind Minnesota and Michigan for sixth.
A strong finish to the regular season could ensure Iowa finishes in the top half of the league. Doing so will require the Hawkeyes to avenge a loss to the Fighting Illini (14-12, 4-9). Illinois won 76-64 on Jan. 25.
Here is everything you need to know about how to watch or listen to this matchup.
Iowa basketball vs. Illinois game time, details
Time: 2:06 p.m. ET tipoff
Date: Saturday, Feb. 18
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
The line: Iowa by 4 1/2
Which TV channel broadcasts Iowa basketball vs. Illinois?
The game airs on the Big Ten Network.
How can I watch Iowa basketball vs. Illinois online?
BTN-Plus will stream the game. Click here for details.
How can I listen to Iowa basketball vs. Illinois on the radio?
In Iowa, 600 AM (WMT-Cedar Rapids), 1040 AM (WHO-Des Moines) and 800 AM (KXIC-Iowa City) are the flagship radio stations. Click here for other Iowa radio affiliates.
Who is calling the Iowa basketball vs. Illinois game?
Kevin Kugler will handle play-by-play for BTN, while Jon Crispin will provide analysis. Gary Dolphin will handle play-by-play alongside analyst Bobby Hansen on the Hawkeye Sports Network.
Iowa basketball vs. Illinois three keys
Defend, defend, defend
The Fighting Illini shot 47.4 percent from the 3-point line and hit 9 shots beyond the arc when the teams met in January. Illinois’ shooting was a big reason why it won the game. Iowa will need to defend better, but not just against Malcolm Hill (16.8 points per game) and the perimeter shooters. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery praised Illinois’ midrange game. Forwards Maverick Morgan and Leron Black combined for 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting in the first contest.
“You think of those guys as big, strong guys, they’re going to score inside, but they’re face-up jump shooters, too,” McCaffery said.
Find the shooting touch
The Hawkeyes shot 4 of 21 from the 3-point line in a 77-66 loss to Michigan State in their last game on Feb. 11. Shooting 19.0 percent from beyond the arc won’t cut it. Iowa can revert back closer to its average of 35.9 percent from deep if Peter Jok and Jordan Bohannon find their shot. They combined to go 0 of 11 against the Spartans.
Be the hare, not the tortoise
Illinois jumped out a 10-0 lead in January and Iowa never recovered. That first contest came during a stretch when the Hawkeyes were struggling to start games. The team resolved the issue in recent weeks.
A quick start this weekend could do for Iowa what it did for Illinois. The Fighting Illini have lost eight of their last 11. An early double-digit deficit could be too much to overcome for a team that’s limping to the finish line.