Illinois’ star center Kofi Cockburn will not suit up tonight against Maryland in College Park. Cockburn is in concussion protocol, according to the University.
Injury-wise, it feels like Illinois took two steps forward only to take two more back. On Monday against Purdue, Andre Curbelo returned to game action for the first time since November.
Per Jeff Goodman of Stadium, Cockburn’s status for next Tuesday’s matchup with Michigan State is also in question.
Illinois and Maryland History
Now the Illini travel to play a program they have not fared well against in recent history outside of their lone win over the Terps this season on Ayo Dosunmu night in Champaign. Before that win, Illinois had lost seven of its last eight contests against Maryland. The lone win during that stretch was on a neutral site.
The last time Illinois beat Maryland in College Park was on November 29, 2011.
As we’ve seen this year, history means nothing and Illinois’ win over Maryland in Champaign earlier this month was a tale of two halves. Maryland led 34-30 at halftime but Illinois outscored the Terps 46-30 in the second half en route to an eight-point victory.
Cockburn led Illinois with 23 points and 18 rebounds in that contest. His production will be tough to replace in Friday night’s matchup.
Why It Matters
It’s on Omar Payne and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk to step up and at the very least provide a presence defensively.
Even with Kofi Cockburn, this game was never going to be easy. Now it’s even tougher without him. With Michigan State looming, Illinois needs to win this game to keep pace in the Big Ten standings.
The pressure lies on Trent Frazier and Andre Curbelo to step up offensively. Da’Monte Williams’ energy on the defensive end will be heightened and Jacob Grandison looks to rebound from his 3-for-10 shooting night against Purdue.
In a season of adversity due to injuries, Illinois will be tasked to answer the call once more. Tip-off is at 6 PM CST on FS1.
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