4. The Illini went point guard-less at times
The starting lineup that consisted of four senior-plus players is exciting. That gives Illinois so much experience that not many teams can match. The player starting the offense and getting the Illini in a groove was sophomore Ty Rodgers.
Rodgers has formed into the starting point guard for the Illini. He has gotten leaner and quicker with his game, and this has benefited the program greatly. I love how he finished at the rim too. This kid is going to be a menace for teams.
When Rodgers came off the floor, mainly in the second half, I was expecting to see Niccolo Moretti take over at point guard. If Moretti and Rodgers were out, I was expecting to see a little bit of Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn handling the ball. That didn’t happen much, though.
Rodgers played 24 minutes against Kansas. Moretti and Gibbs-Lawhorn only played a combined five minutes. So, for 11 minutes, which I believe were mainly in the second half, Illinois didn’t have a point guard on the court.
When I saw this, I was a bit confused. Illinois needs someone to get the offense going and to bring the ball up the court. The first time I noticed it, the lineup was Justin Harmon, Marcus Domask, Luke Goode, Terrence Shannon Jr., and Dain Dainja. That doesn’t seem like the best lineup in the world.
I am not sure if I am a fan of going with no ball distributor at times. That might be an old-school way of thinking, though. Illinois was +6 with Rodgers, Moretti, and Gibbs-Lawhorn off the floor at the same time. So, maybe it is okay to have no point guard. But it just doesn’t seem like the right move.