Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball: Keys to Victory Against the Penn State Nittany Lions

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Continue to shoot the ball well: For the second straight game now, the Illinois Fighting Illini have gotten back to their 40% shooting percentage that we all saw before their 7-game losing streak began. The Illini might have lost to Iowa and Wisconsin in those two games, but their offense is beginning to get back on track. Illinois has shown that they can play really well when their shots are falling. All they need now is just one more aspect of the game to go their way.

Bench production: Game in and game out, bench production…bench production…bench production. The player are there. They just need to make that next step in their college career, especially Kendrick Nunn. There’s no doubt that Nunn is the unofficial “sixth man” of the Illini and has the potential to be a pretty good one at that. In the loss to the Badgers, the Chicago native hit 2-of-3 shots for 4 points, hauled in a single rebound, but committed three fouls in his 18 minutes. The Illinois bench will need to pick up the production soon if the Illini want to break their streak.

Get to the foul line: Last time out against PSU, Illinois did a fantastic job at getting to the foul line where they hit 80% of their free throws. Rayvonte Rice was a stud by getting to the foul line for nine foul shots, and even the bench got to the line. Jaylon Tate and Malcolm Hill both went 4-of-4 from the line to get the Illini a boost. Illinois might be able to get a much needed W if they can get to the line like they did against Penn State in the first meeting this season.

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Topics: Basketball, Illinois Fighting Illini, Kendrick Nunn

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  • Aaron Rench

    On Bench Production: At this point in the season and sitting at the bottom of the B1G, Groce should highly consider playing the Freshmen more. Their playing time now will benefit next years production. It’s obvious that this was a transition year (although it’s hard to comprehend after they started so well), so why not make that transition happen sooner?