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GAME CAPSULE: #11 FAU vs #20 Illinois - December 5th, 2023

FAU Takes On Illinois For Jimmy V Classic

What: #11 FAU (7-1) vs. #20 Illinois (6-1)

When: Tue. Dec 5th, @ 6:30 PM

Where: Madison Square Garden

Series: This is the Owls' second matchup against Illinois. FAU beat the Illini 73-71 back in 2018.


Radio: FoxSports 640

Live Stats: Here

Line: FAU -2

FAU at a Glance

Offense - 84 PPG, 51% FG, 38% 3PT

Defense - 67 PPGA, 41% FGA, 32% 3PTA

Rebounding - 38 RPG Owls, 33 RPG Opponents

Owl Notables

Riding high with five straight wins, FAU can't wait to return to the arena where they created history en route to making the Final Four last season.

2018 was the last time the Owls matched up with the Fighting Illini, which happened to be Dusty May's inaugural season as head coach. Escaping with a 73-71 overtime win on the road, notable alum from that game include Anthony Adger, Madiaw Niang, Michael Forrest, Richardson Maitre, and Aleksandar Zecevic.

Big men Vladislav Goldin (pictured below via Bob Markey II) and Giancarlo Rosado, are combining to average 24.7 PPG, 12.1 RPG, and 2.1 BPG. Goldin recently landed on The American's weekly Honor Roll with his performances, getting a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds to play a monumental role in the win over Charleston. On the other hand, Rosado has grabbed 17 rebounds in his last two games.

Keep an eye on guard Alijah Martin to continue doing his damage. He has been putting up 17.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.4 assists on 47.8% shooting from the field in the last five contests.

Expect the Owls' defense to be aggressive against Illinois. They are only giving up 60.7 points in their last three games, allowing just 35.6% of their opponents' shots to go in. Being stout against an Illini offense that tends to be streaky from beyond the arc would be key in the Owls coming out of New York with the win.

FAU will return home to have a week's worth of rest before hosting the FIU Panthers on December 13th at 7:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Illinois Team Site: Here

Illinois at a Glance

Offense - 78 PPG, 47% FG, 33% 3PT

Defense - 59 PPGA, 34% FGA, 28% 3PTA

Rebounding - 49 RPG, 35 RPG Opponents

Fighting Illini Notables

Rolling into the Big Apple with a four-game winning streak, highlighted by a solid 76-58 win on the road against Rutgers this past Saturday, Illinois presents a worthy challenge for the Owls. Their only loss was a 71-64 nail-biter against 4th-ranked Marquette (now 8th) on November 14th.

The Fighting Illini boast the seventh-best scoring defense in the country, only giving up 58.6 points per game. They also reign at the top in preventing teams from getting easy shots against them, only seeing 33.9% of their opponents' attempts go through the net. Not to mention they are the best at crashing the glass, grabbing over 49 rebounds per contest.

At the top or near the top line of FAUís scouting report for Illinois is 6-foot-6 wing Terrence Shannon Jr., a smooth but explosive scorer at the rim and from the 3-point arc. But expect 6-10, 230-pound forward Coleman Hawkins to make a potential impact as well in his second game back from a knee injury. Both players returned to college this season after testing the NBA, just like FAU players Alijah Martin and Johnell Davis.

Shannon Jr. is an experienced player at 23, back for his second year at Illinois after beginning his career at Texas Tech. Heís also athletic enough and has the prerequisite motor to guard multiple positions on defense from shooting guard to wings and even some stretch 4s. Per nbadraftroom.com, heís the 18th-ranked small forward prospect in the 2024 draft. Davis, incidentally, is the 18th-ranked shooting guard prospect from that source.

Shannon Jr., who averages 20 points, also is one of two Illini hitting 45% of their 3-pointers. Junior Luke Goode (8.9 ppg) is the other.

Hawkins, who had six points and eight rebounds Saturday against Rutgers after missing three previous games, could be a challenging matchup for the Owls because of his ability to finish at the rim and also hit pick-and-pop 3-pointers. In the Illiniís 82-75 preseason exhibition win over Kansas, Hawkins scored 14 points, including four three pointers after setting ball screens.

Following this matchup, Illinois will stay on the road when they head to Tennessee to take on the 10th-ranked Volunteers on December 9th at 12:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

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