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Saturday, February 6, 2010
Rapid reaction: Illinois 78, MSU 73

By Eamonn Brennan

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- What happens when you mix a tough, highly-ranked road team, an injured star, a potentially explosive offensive home squad and a spaceship-shaped bowl full of insane fans?

You get Saturday night's thrilling 78-73 Illinois win over Michigan State. That's what you get.

As sports fans, we place a big premium on the ability of those to predict what will happen ahead of game time, so maybe I'm revealing too much when I admit the following: I had no idea what would happen Saturday night. Was Illinois talented enough to keep up with a more athletic Michigan State team? Or would Kalin Lucas' injury cripple the Spartans? And just how much would the Assembly Hall home crowd -- pumped up from a full day of College GameDay festivities -- affect the outcome?

Consider those questions answered. Here's what we now know: