Illinois Basketball: 4 big questions for the Illini against Wisconsin

Nov 26, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (21) runs up court during the second half against the Texas-Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn (21) runs up court during the second half against the Texas-Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Illinois basketball
Jan 17, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Andre Curbelo (5) reacts to a fouled called against him during the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at State Farm Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports /

2. What is Curbelo’s role?

I ended the previous slide with chemistry issues with the Illini. With some key players missing a few games here and there, Illinois hasn’t been able to get into a groove as a team.

Thankfully, the Illini will have Andre Curbelo back on the court against Wisconsin. He is the type of player who can bring so much fire to the court. But a big question I have is what will Curbelo’s role be on Wednesday night?

Curbelo returned to the Illinois lineup back on January 17 for the Purdue tilt. He only had a chance to play in two games before entering the health and safety protocols. The last time Curbelo played was on January 21 against Maryland.

The reason I wonder what Curbelo’s role is going to be against Wisconsin is due to him not starting the past two games. He has come off the bench in both the Purdue and Maryland contests. Curbelo performed well against the Boilermakers, but he saw just 14 minutes against Maryland and only scored four points.

It is difficult to have a star player not on the court and then to throw him back into the mix. I would think Curbelo comes off the bench once again on Wednesday night. He needs to be eased into the lineup. But I am not sure what Brad Underwood going to do. That is why it is one of my big questions for the Wisconsin game.