So here's the thing: The last time we played Illinois, it didn't end well. The Illini shot 67% from the field (13/18 from three) and left Iowa City with a ten-point win. And as bad as that was, it was par for the course in this series: Iowa hasn't beaten Illinois in nearly 4 years, going 0-5 against the Illini with an average margin of defeat of eleven points since that 2007 win. Unsurprisingly, Iowa is an 11.5-point underdog tonight in Champaign. There is virtually no reason, historically, statistically, or otherwise, to believe Iowa can win this game.
Why, then, do we feel just slightly optimistic for tonight's contest (6:00 CST tipoff, Big Ten Network)? Could it be that Iowa has been tantalizingly close to a breakthrough win in the three weeks since the last victory at Indiana? Maybe it's that Illinois has slipped up recently, losing six of their last nine, and that they'll certainly be looking forward to next week's bubble-bursting game against Purdue? Or is it that Iowa -- which has struggled mightily with any squad with size and strength inside -- matches up relatively well with Illinois' guards and perimeter-oriented bigs?
Or, as Illinois' greatest export once said, what would love be without wishful thinking?
Bud Light contest info and open thread after the jump. You know the rules: No illegal streams, no porn, no dickheadishness and we'll all be OK.
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