Day & Time: Tuesday, November 28, 7:30 pm
Location: State Farm Center, Champaign, Ill.
Line: After losing to Bryant, the Draftkings Line sees the Orange struggling as 10.5 point underdogs.
TV/Streaming: ESPN, WatchESPN
Illinois Blog: The Champaign Room
Rivalry: 2-1, Illinois
Current Streak: 1, Syracuse
First Meeting: No. 8 Syracuse and No. 9 Illinois traveled to Rupp Arena to play in the Kentucky Invitational during late December in 1978. The Orange struggled against the Fighting Illini, scoring a regular season low 61 points in a 64-61 loss to Illinois. Louis Orr led the way with 16 points.
Last Meeting: Continuing the trend of early season tournaments in December, Syracuse spent the 1995 holidays in Hawaii for the first game of the Rainbow Classic. The No. 13 Orange outscored the No. 12 Fighting Illini by 11 in the second half as Syracuse won 75-64. Marius Janulis had 18 points while John Wallace had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (47th year, 1,102-429) | Illinois - Brad Underwood (sixth year, 99-67)
Coach Bio: Underwood played at three schools in college - Hardin-Simmons, Independence CC and Kansas State. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Hardin-Simmons before bouncing around community colleges. Underwood gained notoriety as an assistant at Kansas State under Bob Huggins and eventually Frank Martin. Underwood became associate head coach under Martin and the pair went together to South Carolina in 2012. The following season, Underwood went to Stephen F. Austin and led the Lumberjacks to notable success. Stephen F. Austin won the Southland conference in each of Underwood’s three seasons with at least 28 wins and made it past the first round of the NCAA tournament twice.
Underwood’s first Division I head coaching job came with Oklahoma State and led the Cowboys to a 20-win season and an NCAA tournament appearance. He moved to Illinois the following season. After finishing with a losing record in his first two seasons with Illinois, the Fighting Illini have won at least 20 games in every following year under Underwood.
Last Year: Illinois may have underperformed with a player like Kofi Cockburn at the helm, especially with two shocking early losses to Marquette and Cincinnati. The Fighting Illini put it together for Big 10 play, earning the No. 1 season in the conference tournament. However, Indiana knocked off Illinois in the first game of the tournament. The Fighting Illini earned a four seed at the NCAA tournament but lost in the second round to Houston.
Last Game: Illinois brutally welcomed Lindenwood to Division I athletics with a 92-59 drubbing. Two Illinois players set career highs in points during the blowout win.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Terrence Shannon Jr. has gone from starter at Texas Tech to star at Illinois. Even though it’s early, Shannon is averaging over 20 points per game and is shooting 47.1% from three.
If Syracuse Wins: Consider this our payment for allowing you to take Tommy DeVito
If Syracuse Loses: Fine. We’ll give you our late 2010s football uniforms again.
Fun Fact: The three games that Illinois has played Syracuse have seen Hall of Famer Lou Henson on the Illinois sidelines. The Fighting Illini have had five head coaches since the last time that these two teams have played.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.