The Illinois basketball lineup is still in limbo as the news of Ayo Dosunmu being a game-time decision was released this morning.
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported Tuesday morning that Ayo was again going to be a game-time decision. This comes on the heels of him being a game-time decision and ultimately not playing in the Rutgers game this past Saturday.
What does this mean for the Illini?
As a fan, of course, I want Ayo to suit up. This kid is special and helps the team win games. But I don’t want him to risk worsening the injury by coming back too early. There is no reason for him to rush this injury. I would rather have him think about his future than an immediate game.
Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu (knee) will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game at Penn State, per Brad Underwood. DNP in last game.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 18, 2020
Let’s layout the two scenarios. Scenario one is that Ayo suits up for the Illini tonight. He instantly changes the starting lineup back to what it was before he got hurt.
I love the lineup for Trent Frazier, Ayo, Da’Monte Williams, Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Kofi Cockburn. This is a good starting lineup with Andres Feliz and Alan Griffin coming off the bench to ignite the fire. I believe this rotation gives Illinois the best chance to win games.
Now let’s go worst-case scenario and say Ayo doesn’t play against Penn State. That means his injury isn’t healed enough to compete. What this means for the Illini is next man up.
Feliz is thrust into a starting role. He is going to need to bring his bulldog mentality to the court for more minutes. We need him to drive the lane all night long. This will force defenders to crack down on him. Either he will finish at the hoop or Kofi will be open for a dunk. This offense works for the Illini.
A big player who would need to step up in Ayo’s absence would be Griffin. He has the ability to come off the bench and give this program 10-15 points. We are going to need that via a combination of the three-point arc and driving. I think Griffin is probably our all-around best offensive option.
These two guards will need to replace Ayo on the offensive end of the court. I believe Trent Frazier can be more of a ball distributor for the Illini. He needs to be more efficient, so having him distributing might be the best option right now.
Mark my words, whether Ayo plays or not, this Illinois basketball team has enough firepower to take down the Nittany Lions. It will be next man up for the Orange and Blue. We have the grit and tenacity to pull off this upset and launch ourselves back into the top 25.