Illinois Basketball: 4 observations from the Illini loss to Cincinnati

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Illinois basketball

Nov 12, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Trent Frazier (1) guards Arkansas State Red Wolves guard Marquis Eaton (23) with the ball in the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It is the next morning, and I am still hurting from the thumping that Cincinnati put on the Illinois basketball team.

The Illini started well, taking the lead 23-8, but that is when things started going sideways. The Bearcats stormed back and had a 34-31 lead at halftime. Things got worse for Illinois in the second half, though. Cincinnati would end up winning the game, 71-51.

Here are four observations from the Illinois basketball loss to Cincinnati.

1. Experience let us down

In all of the years I have been watching Illinois basketball, this might be the most experienced team I have seen suit up for the program. Those players who have the experience let the Illini fanbase down on Monday night, though.

Let’s start with the fifth-year seniors. Trent Frazier and Da’Monte Williams should be leaders on this team. They should be the players who are looked to for guidance from some of the younger guys. That didn’t happen against Cincinnati. In fact, they were arguably our two worst players on the court.

Frazier finished the game with zero points, two assists, one rebound, and one turnover. He was 0-of-9 from the field and 0-of-5 from three-point range. He did all of this in 33 minutes on the court. This was his worst game as an Illinois player, and it came at a bad time. Illinois needed to win this game and get back on track, but Frazier didn’t show up.

Williams didn’t play as bad, but he was still an offensive liability. He finished with two points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and one turnover while shooting 0-of-2 from the field and 0-of-2 from three-point range. Williams just isn’t an effective player for this program right now.

Frazier and Williams weren’t the only two experienced players who had a bad game. Jacob Grandison was 0-of-3 from the field. Andre Curbelo was 4-of-12 from the field. Shots just weren’t falling in.

I don’t know what was going on with the Illini on Monday night. They didn’t look interested in being there. Whatever is going on, especially with our experienced players, needs to be fixed immediately or this season could get uglier.

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