Illinois Basketball: Three Focuses for the Illini Against Iowa


The Illinois basketball team has a huge game against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday night.

This game is essentially a win or go home type of contest.  The Illini need to come out with a victory or they move to 12-9 on the season and 2-6 in the Big Ten.

Illinois has also dropped their past three games and five out of their last seven.  That trend needs to stop as well.  They need to win this game and then beat Penn State on the road.

The Illini haven’t been competitive in their last two games, but they come back home where they tend to play much better.  Their last home game was a gut-wrenching loss to Maryland.

Illinois has a chance to start turning things around against Iowa and here are the three focuses for the game.

The first focus is to get Jalen Coleman-Lands more involved in the game.  I feel like I have typed these same words over and over and over again, but they are true.

Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois Fighting Illini /

Illinois Fighting Illini

I can make an argument that Coleman-Lands is the best shooter on the team.  So, why is he only shooting the ball four times against Michigan?

Get Coleman-Lands moving without the ball and coming off screens.  This enables him to get into his flow and to be able to knock down three-point shots.

Focus No. 2 is to give Tracy Abrams some dang rest.  This guy is coming off back-to-back seasons where he couldn’t play because of two different injuries.

Abrams clearly isn’t the player he once was and I can’t blame him for that.  Injuries derailed his career, but I think John Groce could help him out by giving him some more time off during games.

When Abrams is resting let Te’Jon Lucas command the offense so we can see what we have in the future.  I think this kid could be pretty special for the Illini.

The final focus is to use the big men.  This isn’t a crazy concept.  Illinois has some pretty big players and some of them are even athletic.  Let’s use them to our advantage.

I know Leron Black likes to shoot the three-point shot now, but he would be better used from within ten feet of the hoop.

The only player that is 6-foot-9 or taller that should be outside the three-point arc is Michael Finke.  I want to see Black, Maverick Morgan, and yes, even Mike Thorne around the hoop more often.

Getting the big men to be around the hoop will not only enable the Illini to score more, but they could also get more rebounds as well.

Next: Illini Players Improving or Declining this Season?

Illinois needs to win this game against Iowa and doing these three things would help that cause.  I think the Illini can win and hopefully, they do, so the season can still be alive.