Illinois HC Brad Underwood speaks on difficult containing Iowa's Luka Garza: 'He's the best player in the country'
A rivalry gets renewed on Friday night in the B1G when No. 7 Iowa travels to No. 19 Illinois for a showdown between two talented teams. Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood knows his team is in for a major challenge.
That challenge? Stopping All-American Luka Garza.
Garza is playing incredible basketball this season, averaging 26.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Hawkeyes this season. As a result, Iowa sits at 12-3 on the season and is 6-2 in B1G play. While Illinois has plenty of talented players of its own — Kofi Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu to name a few — Underwood knows his team faces a tough task.
“Iowa has the best player in the country, in my opinion, in Luka Garza,” Underwood said, per Jeremy Werner of Illini Inquirer. “I don’t know if you can contain Garza. You can do a great job on him and he’ll get 20 or 30 [points].”
Friday’s game between the Hawkeyes and Illini will be the only meeting of the regular season. Considering the intensity between the two teams, both will be desperate to get a win.
The Fighting Illini enter Friday’s game with a 10-5 record and a 6-3 mark in B1G play. They have not played since Jan. 19.