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Basketball

3-POINT PREVIEW: Illinois Fighting Illini

Nov 19, 2018; Lahaina, HI, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Ayo Dosunmu (11) passes the ball against Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24) during the first half in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational at Lahaina Civic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Maui, Hawaii
TV: ESPN2
KenPom Prediction: 80-74, Iowa State

1 – Ayo vs. THT

Tuesday night’s game will pit two of the best college players from the city of Chicago – Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu. Dosunmu, a 6-foot-4 combo guard, was the top player in the state of Illinois in the 2018 recruiting cycle.

Horton-Tucker was No. 3.

The “rivalry” between Horton-Tucker and Dosunmu can primarily be traced back to the story of the culmination of each of their recruiting processes. Dosunmu committed to the Fighting Illini shortly before Horton-Tucker was scheduled to make his official visit to Champaign.

But, before the eventual Cyclone could make his decision, people in Dosunmu’s camp made it known it would be him or THT. There would be no playing together for the state’s flagship institution after what was perceived as THT slighting the AAU program the two of them grew up playing in together, Mac Irvin Fire, by leaving it for Team Rose in search of more exposure.

Horton-Tucker got his exposure and it eventually ended in him becoming one of the class’ top prospects. It ended with him arriving at Iowa State where he is now averaging 15 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals through four collegiate games.

Dosunmu is scoring 16.3 points per game and is 6-of-10 from behind the 3-point line.

This will surely be one of the biggest talking points during Tuesday evening’s TV broadcast.

2 – Containing Trent Frazier

Frazier scored 29 points during the Illini’s Maui Invitational first-round loss to Gonzaga and nearly carried his team to a colossal upset of one of the nation’s best teams.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound sophomore guard is averaging 19.5 points per game after earning honorable mention All-Big 10 honors last season. The former four-star recruit was one of the top freshmen in the country last season and figures to have an even bigger impact on his team in year two.

3 – Handling defensive pressure

The Illini forced 22 turnovers on Monday against the Bulldogs and intense defensive pressure remains one of the hallmarks of Brad Underwood’s coachings style. The Illinois defense currently leads the nation in turnover percentage, according to KenPom, and it is one of the biggest keys to the team’s success.

Taking care of the basketball will be crucial to Iowa State’s success on Tuesday and if they get careless, things could go south quickly.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.