Texas will face its first test away from the Moody Center on Tuesday. The Longhorns (6-0) travel to Madison Square Garden to compete with the No. 17 Illinois Fighting Illini (6-2).
Chris Beard’s team is still battle tested after securing Top 10 wins over the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Creighton Bluejays. Nevertheless the Illinois game will be a different challenge altogether.
Aside from the neutral site test, Texas will have the unenviable task of stopping Terrence Shannon. Chris Beard’s former Texas Tech player is averaging over 19 points per game on the season.
Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer is another familiar face on the Illini. The defensive pest is struggling this season on the offensive end, but could give the Longhorns trouble with suffocating defense.
Illinois would be the cherry on top of a No. 1 seed caliber nonconference resume for Texas, but the Longhorns’ opponent will have other plans.
Here’s a look at Illinois’ starting five.
Terrence Shannon Jr. got 4 stitches above his right eye after the game at Maryland, the #Illini guard said he’ll be fine against No. 2 Texas
“Pretty tough kid, stitches and blood everywhere and he’s dying to get back in the game so those are the kind of guys I like to rock with” pic.twitter.com/rZxxBoPl3L
— Bret Beherns (@WCIA3Bret) December 5, 2022
Illinois’ Coleman Hawkins is maybe my favorite prospect this season. Have mentioned that a few times, but he showcased WHY against Syracuse tonight. Had a 15/10/10 triple-double, and just completely obliterated their zone from the foul line area as a passer and touch finisher. pic.twitter.com/YixV365VqH
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) November 30, 2022
RJ Melendez with 13 & 7, 3 STL and 2 BLK while shooting 3/4 from two and 2/3 from three vs Maryland. He’s now up to 20/46 (43.5%) from three in college. The 6’7 soph is making a greater defensive impact this year and getting lots more stocks. STL and BLK rates now both over 4%. pic.twitter.com/LgD5RMJ60h
— Clay (@ClayAtki) December 4, 2022
“Good things are coming. I told him he may have to get his mullet back to get that jump shot to fall”#Illini coach Brad Underwood weighs in on Matthew Mayer and why he’s so important to the team:
“Winner, winner, he is a winner. He knows all about winning” pic.twitter.com/tv6LLJoOQj
— Bret Beherns (@WCIA3Bret) November 30, 2022