The Fighting Illini have a the same record in conference, and the same record overall, but in terms of NCAA resume, they are in different boats altogether. Due to strength of schedule and RPI Illinois, according to most projections is solidly in the field, while Michigan may have some work to do.
Make no mistake though, both teams want to win this game very badly.
Michigan has been the surprise team in the Big Ten this year, starting off conference play at 1-6, before getting very hot down the stretch winning eight of eleven, including two huge wins over instate rival and fellow bubble team Michigan State. John Beilein's team is led by several stand out young players, including sophomore guard Darius Morris who is averaging 15 points per game, and freshman Tim Hardaway jr. who is averaging nearly 14 points per game.
The Wolverines are guard heavy and take a lot of three's and can put up quite a few points when players like forward Zac Novak are hitting from deep. In the lone game between UM and Illinois this season though, the Wolverines hit just 2-18 from deep in the two point loss to the Illini, something that is unlikely to happen again.
The Illini are led by their seniors, point guard Demetri McCamey with 15 points and 6 assists per game, and forward Mike Davis with 12 points and 7 rebounds per game. If the Illini can get good offensive production out of those two as well as a solid post game from senior center Mike Davis they could be too much for the Wolverines to handle. As we have seen all season though, if the Illini are not hitting their shots at a high percentage, or turn the ball over too much, they can lose to anyone.