1. Get Kofi going early
Arguably the best player on the Illinois basketball team is Kofi Cockburn. When he is performing well, the team usually follows with a victory.
The last two games have been bad for Kofi. He totaled 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 0 blocks in those two contests. He struggled to stay on the court and, when he was on the court, he had a hard time putting the ball in the hoop. This isn’t a new occurrence, though.
In the first game against Michigan State this season, Kofi struggled as well. Illinois got spanked by 20 points, and that had a lot to do with Kofi putting up 5 points and 9 rebounds while spending a lot of time on the bench with three fouls.
Illinois is just as good or even better than Michigan State. Winning on the road is tough, and that was another element of why we lost by 20 points the last time around. This game could be different, though.
If we can get Kofi going early and get him the confidence he needs, then I think Illinois can win by double-digits. This kid is the centerpiece of what could be a title-contending team. We can turn the tides tonight and it all starts with the big man down low.