Illinois works to neutralize No. 9 Purdue's size advantage

Posted:
Illinois' Brad Underwood will take on Purdue for the first time in his head coaching career when the Illini welcome the No. 9 Boilermakers to the State Farm Center on Thursday night. Illinois' Brad Underwood will take on Purdue for the first time in his head coaching career when the Illini welcome the No. 9 Boilermakers to the State Farm Center on Thursday night.

CHAMPAIGN -- Illinois is hoping that Purdue's trip to the State Farm Center on Thursday night will be more than just a detour on the other side of the famed Beef House restaurant.

Beef is the reason Purdue is a 10-point favorite on the road -- coach Matt Painter's squad has more of it than it knows what to do with.

There's 7-foot-2 headliner Isaac Haas (5.5 rebounds per game), 7-foot-3 Matt Haarms (2.4 blocks per game), 6-foot-8 Vince Edwards (14.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and a host of complementary big men. Mix in an electric guard like Carsen Edwards (17.4 ppg) and the team's assist leader Dakota Mathias (11.9 ppg, 4.3 assists per game) and you have a team that the NCAA selection committee pegged as a No. 1 seed in its mid-February reveal 11 days ago.

Illinois, on the other hand, is working hard on the recruiting trail to get Purdue-caliber beef. In the meantime they'll have to make due with schemes to try and negate that size difference.

Click the video above to hear from coach Brad Underwood and freshman guard Trent Frazier on how the team plans to counteract that discrepancy.

Note:
Frazier currently leads all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (14.1 ppg), assists (3.6 apg), steals (1.3 apg) and 3-pointers (2.3 per game) in conference play. He was the 14th-rated recruit in the league according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

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