Illinois Basketball: Grades from the Illini win over Michigan

The Illinois basketball team welcomed the short-handed Michigan Wolverines to the State Farm Center on Friday night. 

For the second straight game, the Illini intensity wasn’t there for the early part of the game. But in an ugly game against a Brandon Johns Jr. and Hunter Dickinson less Michigan team, the Illini were able to pull off a victory 68-53 to improve to 6-0 in the Big Ten.

Here are some grades from the Illinois basketball win over Michigan

Offense Grade: C

The Illini really struggled at times in this game on the offensive end of the court. I want to give some credit to the Michigan defense, which was swarming Kofi Cockburn and closing out on the shooters very well causing the Illini to shoot 6-of-20 from behind the three-point arc.

The offense for Illinois was also just stagnant at times. Sometimes this team just misses Andre Curbelo’s ability to break down the defense to create offense.

Michigan forced the Illini into tough shots most of the night, until the final six minutes when the Illinois offense finally clicked and went on a 23-9 run to end the game.

As of late, Illinois had been doing a better job of taking care of the ball, as they had under double-digit turnovers the last two games. But, against Michigan, Illinois had 13 turnovers.

Michigan had no answer for Kofi without sophomore Dickinson in the game. Kofi had his 9th straight double-double scoring 21 points and bringing down 10 rebounds. Trent Fraizer played facilitator most of the game with seven assists but got hot late closing the game out with 18 points. Alfonso Plummer also added 15.

Defense Grade: B

The defense for the Illini had another solid effort Friday night forcing a young Michigan team into 12 turnovers. The Michigan offense missed Dickinson down low as a scorer and a passing hub for the offense.

Illinois held Michigan to 36% shooting, and they finished 1-of-10 from behind the three-point arc. I felt Coleman Hawkins gave the Illini 26 solid minutes, especially on the defensive side, recording a block and a steal. Fraizer was also great on the defensive side of things, as usual.

Overall Grade: C+

I was hoping for an intense rivalry feel in this one, but unfortunately with Dickenson being out, it didn’t quite feel that way.

The Illini seemed to lack intensity for most of this game but were able to turn it on late and take care of business at home.

It’s a quick turnaround for Illinois, as they welcome the No. 7 ranked Purdue Boilermakers to the State Farm Center on Martin Luther King Jr. day, Monday morning for an 11:30 a.m. CT start time on FOX.