For the first time in years, Carver-Hawkeye will be filled tonight as Illinois comes to town. And yes, the Illini will be bringing plenty of fans, but there'll be nothing as embarrassing and emasculating as the entire section of Illinois fans* that happened last year. Further, Illinois is playing in the Texas Bowl as we speak, so it's not as if the Illini fans have nothing better to do.
The full house should see a heck of a game. Illinois guard Demetri McCamey is every bit the scoring leader he was last year, except now he's hitting more of his shots. McCamey has made 49% of his 3-pointers this year, and his assist-turnover ratio is considerably better than last year. Of course, this is all before the Big Ten season begins, so perhaps the level of competition's worth some consideration.
Still, Iowa's going to have its hands full guarding McCamey, and Illinois has more size than Iowa's really built to handle on defense. The Illini are favored by 4 points even after their stunning loss to UIC and the less-stunning loss to Missouri in the last two games, and even though Iowa is improving game-by-game, it would be remarkable if Iowa came up with a win tonight.
But let's watch all the same. Game's on the Big Ten Network, and Gus Johnson is on the mic. MY NAME IS ANDREW BROMMER, AND I GET BUCKETS. Rules are the same as they ever were. Let's do this.
*This incident, by the way, is what I assume the breaking point was for Lickliter's career. I stand by what I said last winter, that Lickliter deserved one more year to start turning things around, but it's hard to justify risking another home-court punking like that in Barta's eyes. And we can't exactly complain about what Fran The Man has done in this first year, either.