The Iowa Hawkeyes will open the Big Ten tournament on Thursday morning against Illinois. The Hawkeyes are the eighth seed and take on a ninth seeded Illinois team that beat them in their only regular season matchup. The Illini dominated the boards in the first meeting led by 7-1 center Meyers Leonard.

Iowa coach Fran Mccaffery says it starts with him, but says his team has to do a better job of on the defensive end with rebounding. He says giving up multiple offensive rebounds leads to more possessions for the other team and ultimately more points.

McCaffery will try to design a game plan to slow Leonard down. He says you have to decided if you will play him straight up or double team him in some way. After a fast start to the season Illinois stumbled in the second half and finished the regular season 17-14.

McCaffery says the Illini have the ability to make a deep run in the tournament. “Obviously they can beat anybody in our league, they beat Michigan State and Ohio State and I thought they played pretty well against Michigan,” He says.

Freshman forward Aaron White says while the Hawks may be a longshot they do have a chance, as anybody can make a run.White says he is looking forward to his first Big Ten tournament.