Illinois Dominates Michigan, 76-53


Published on March 3 2021 5:58 am
Last Updated on March 3 2021 5:58 am

By Matt Haufe

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The No. 4 Fighting Illini defeated No. 2 Michigan 76-53 Tuesday evening at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor. The win marks the highest win against a ranked opponent on the road since the 1989 Flyin' Illini's win at third-ranked Indiana.

The Orange and Blue were led by Trent Frazier (22 points, four rebounds), Andre Curbelo (17 points, six rebounds) and Kofi Cockburn (12 points, seven rebounds).

Defense dominated the first half, with the Illini holding Michigan to just 20 percent from the field, and scoring runs led by Andre Curbelo's 11 first-half points put the Illini up 33-22 at the half.

The Illini exploded offensively in the second half, starting the half with a 31-12 run in the first 10 minutes of the second half to lead 64-34 with 10 minutes to go. The Illini continued to pile it on, leading by as much as 28 at the 5:36 mark in the second half. Senior Trent Frazier got hot in the second half, scoring 16 points and leading the Illini to the top-four victory.


The Illini dominated the night on the defensive side, holding Michigan to just 35% (17-for-49) from the field on the evening. Michigan had been averaging 78.3 ppg heading into the matchup, and the Illini held the Wolverines to just 53 points. The three potential All-Big Ten selections for Michigan (Isaiah Livers, Hunter Dickinson, Franz Wagner) were held to 5-for-24 from the field on the evening.


The matchup between the two best bigs in the league, Kofi Cockburn and Hunter Dickinson, was heavily touted heading into tonight's game. Cockburn led Dickinson in every major category (points, rebounds, FG%), and held the Michigan big to just six points on 1-for-8 from the field, and five rebounds.


• Illinois had its highest ranked road win in program history at No. 2 Michigan. Its highest ranked road wins were at No. 3 Indiana on March 5, 1989 on a Nick Anderson 30-footer at the buzzer, and an overtime victory at No. 3 Kentucky on Dec. 5, 1966.

• Illinois beat a top-2 ranked team for the seventh time in program history. It was the first top-2 win since Feb. 7, 2013 when the Illini defeated No. 1 Indiana on a Tyler Griffey layup at the buzzer.

• Illinois is 4-4 all-time in top-4 match-ups. This was the first top-4 matchup victory since a 72-57 victory by the No. 1 Illini over No. 4 Louisville in the 2005 Final Four (April 2, 2005).

• No. 4 Illinois at No. 2 Michigan was the program's third top-4 match-up (AP) in Big Ten play, and first since Jan. 11, 1979, when the No. 4 Illini defeated No. 1 Michigan State on an Eddie Johnson jump shot at the buzzer. 

• Illinois has won five games against AP-ranked teams, its most in a season since 2005 (9). 

• Illinois is 15-4 in the Big Ten, tied for its most Big Ten wins in program history. The school record of 15 league victories was set in 1984 (15-3, co-champions) and equaled in 2005 (15-1, champions).

• Illinois' 28 Big Ten wins over the last two years is tied for the most in consecutive seasons in Illini history, along with 2004-05. 

Most Big Ten Wins in Consecutive Seasons

28 2004-05 

28 2020-21 

27 1984-85 

26 1988-89 

26 1952-53 

25 1987-88 

25 1942-43 

• Illinois has won 10 of its last 11 games, including three straight wins in the last six days and back-to-back road wins against top-25 opponents (at #23 Wisconsin, at #2 Michigan). 

• Illinois has nine Quad 1 wins, passing Michigan for the most in the NCAA. 

• Illinois had clinched a top-2 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament before tonight's game. 

• Over the last two Big Ten seasons, Illinois has the league's best win percentage (.718) and most wins (28).

• Illinois handed Michigan its second-largest home loss of the last 25 seasons:     -27 points - 2001 vs. No. 5 Michigan State 

-23 points - 2021 vs. No. 4 Illinois 

-23 points - 2010 vs. No. 12 Purdue 

• Illinois' 23-point win at No. 2 Michigan is the largest margin on the road against a No. 1 or No. 2 team by any team in the nation since No. 15 Villanova won 96-73 at No. 1 Connecticut on Feb. 18, 1995.

• Illinois' 23-point win is the Illini's largest margin of victory against a top-5 team since a 110-83 win vs. #2 UCLA on Dec. 4, 1964 in the season opener. 

• Illinois' 23-point win was its largest at Michigan since the No. 5 Illini beat Michigan by 30 (92-62) on Feb. 9, 1953. 

• Illinois is 8-3 on the road this season, including wins at Duke, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.