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Illinois vs Ohio State: Trap Game?

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Feb 23, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Matthew Mayer (24) and teammates get a hand from the student section after defeating the Northwestern Wildcats at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State. This is a Trap game.

On Sunday, Illinois basketball travels to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes at 11am. The Buckeyes have struggled. Despite having some talented transfers and a star freshman in Brice Sensabaugh, Chris Holtmann’s squad has struggled to gain any traction. The Buckeyes are 13th in the league with their 3-14 conference record. Additionally, that record includes a loss at home to league-worst Minnesota. Holtmann’s crew has lost the last 9 games and have simply struggled to score the ball.

They suck, how in the world is this a trap game?

Look, I am all for eating a bowl of crow for this take. However, I am very convinced that this is a trap game. Long rstory short, Illinois has to travel to play Sunday morning on the road after completing an emotional, high octane comeback victory at home late Thursday night. With a young team that has been very inconsistent, I worry how Illinois comes out. Additionally, Illinois plays Michigan this week. Michigan is a team that Illinois and their fans have grown to hate. I do not want to call it a rivalry game, but it is an important one; especially with Michigan looming around second place in the conference.

After the Michigan game, Illinois travels to Mackey for a shot at the top team in the conference. It is difficult to get up for a Sunday morning clash against the league’s worst when you have that kind of week ahead. To be honest, this game timing matches that game against Rutgers in 2017 after an emotional senior night performance at home against Michigan State.

I could be wrong.

I should be wrong. Ohio State is not very good. Illinois is battling to take control of second place in the conference and is hoping to round out into form as they prepare to make a run in March. At this point in the Big Ten, the only thing that matters is a win. Whether that is pretty or not. Ohio State has the pieces to give Illinois some trouble. Brice Sensabaugh, Zed Key and Justice Sueing are all legitimate pieces on a Big Ten team. I just hope that Illinois does not come out flat. A full 40 minute effort will be nice, as Illinois hopes to clinch a winning conference record for the fourth straight season.

These kind of games are tough for any squad. Illinois played a very rough game against Penn State at home last year before a known high-stakes game against Iowa. In all, hopefully a “trap game” situation can be avoided and this talented Illinois squad can move forward with a W.

Alex is the Owner of Armchairillini.com, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is a Resident Physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Northwestern Medicine and has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS sports and more.

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