Illinois Basketball: 4 big questions for the Illini against Maryland

Nov 29, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini players celebrate their half time lead over the Notre Dame fighting Illini during the first half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini players celebrate their half time lead over the Notre Dame fighting Illini during the first half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 11, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Da’Monte Williams (20) drives the ball against Arizona Wildcats guard Benedict Mathurin (0) during the second half at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

3. Was Minnesota Williams’ breakout game?

Man, it has been so frustrating this season watching Da’Monte Williams not get the same results as he did during the 2020-21 campaign.

Williams was sensational last season. He nearly doubled his scoring average and was one of the most efficient three-point shooters in the nation at 51.5%. We haven’t seen nearly the same production this season, though.

Through 13 games, Williams is averaging four points per game while only hitting 28.8% of his shots from deep. Those are not the numbers I was hoping to see out of the fifth-year senior. But things might be starting to turn around for the guard from Peoria.

Williams has played better as of late. He still isn’t a scoring machine, but he is starting to contribute more and in an efficient manner. He had five points on 1-of-2 shooting from three-point range against St. Francis (PA). Williams then followed that up with three points on 1-of-2 shooting from deep against Missouri.

On Tuesday night against Minnesota, Williams had his best game this season. He would finish with nine points, five rebounds, and four assists. He didn’t have a single turnover in the game, and he shot 3-of-4 from three-point range.

I am going to be watching to see if Williams can continue his solid play against Maryland on Thursday. When other players aren’t playing their best, it would be nice to have Williams contribute 5-9 points on any given night. What he did against Minnesota was optimal. Let’s see if he can sustain that type of production.