Tomorrow night, the Illini look to continue their winning ways against the Purdue Boilermakers. One reason conference play is so different is the degree of familiarity that teams have with one another, but in this case it's amplified.
Illini basketball coach Bruce Weber
spent 18 years as Gene Keady's assistant coach at Purdue before he left to coach the Salukis. In addition, James Augustine was almost a Boilermaker, as Mark Tupper points out on his blog, here
The visit to West Lafayette will be Weber's second
. Last year's game was the one of the most exciting of the season for Illini fans. Who can forget Luther Head sprinting the length of the court for a last-second tip-in and a two-point win to preserve the chance of a Big Ten championship for the Illini.
The official Illinois games notes can be found here
The season starts for these two Big Ten teams couldn't be much different. The exploits of the #1 ranked, undefeated Illini have been well-documented on this blog, the Boilermakers have had problems as Big Ten Wonk points out here
. Illinois Loyalty has more here
. Still, the Illini can not afford to overlook any conference game and this one is no exception. The games against Purdue last year were decided by two and four points and the Boilermakers are one of the few teams to win in Champaign in the last five years. And...it's on national TV!