What the Jimmy V Classic might inform us about Illinois

8:00 AM ET Kyle SoppeESPN The game of the day sees the Illinois Combating Illini travel

to New York to face

the undefeated Texas Longhorns in the Jimmy V Classic, in a battle of two teams who plan to make some severe sound in March. Heading into this matchup, let’s take a look at what each team has actually shown so far and what it might imply, both tonight and as we advance through the 2022-23 guys’s college basketball season.2 Associated Illinois rattled off 47 routine wins over the past 2 seasons, but with just a pair of tournament wins over that stretch it’s hard to call either season a success. What has altered? During three seasons with Kofi Cockburn in the middle, the Illini had an average pace rank of 182nd. But with the big male now playing pro ball in Japan, Brad Underwood has his team pushing up the pace and ranking 24th. Last season’s Kansas Jayhawks and the 2016-17 North Carolina Tar Heels are recent examples of groups that ranked in the top 15 %of Department I in rate and won it all. Which makes this transition an intriguing one for a team that has 5 rotation players shooting north of 35%from 3. play 0:16 Marcus Carr finishes over 2 Creighton protectors Texas has been all sorts of impressive so far, with a knocking of Gonzaga and a difficult battled win last week against Creighton– regardless of missing 15 of 19

shots from deep. The Longhorns examine every box possible

. They have a set of top-10 wins in the very first month behind a lineup loaded with NCAA experience, play at a slower pace and are led by 3 guards who integrate to score more than half of their points. But that exact sentence could have been stated about Seton Hall last season, a group that ended up as an 8-seed and failed to win a tournament game. Which isn’t to say 2023 Texas is 2022 Seton Hall; rather, it’s simply a word of care in presuming much of anything best now.When it concerns evaluating the potential to cut down the internet this spring, there are a couple of patterns worth highlighting: Both Illinois and Texas rank higher in protective efficiency than offending effectiveness(per KenPom), a quality we have not had in a champ since the Shabazz Napier-led UConn Huskies of 2013-14. On the plus side, both teams did cover two of their first three games(Illinois was 22 points better than the spread in those games, Texas 24.5 points over expectation)this season, aligning them with recent champions in regards to overachieving from the jump. Will either or both make a Last 4 run? Only time will tell, but we do get a very intriguing information point tonight in the very first game of the Jimmy V Classic.

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