3. Do the Illinois freshmen see reduced minutes?
Over the past three games, Illinois basketball fans had a chance to watch nearly every player on the roster suit up and get minutes. That is the bonus of playing bad teams.
In this stretch of games, we saw players like AJ Redd and Max Willimas on the court. Both players are not on scholarship, and it is fun to see them get minutes. Illinois fans also got to see more of the freshman class.
Now that we are moving on to a tough stretch of games, do we see the freshmen anymore? Will the freshmen see reduced minutes in the coming games?
First and foremost, the freshmen receiving minutes in the cupcake games is a great thing for the program. That experience will help the team tremendously. My hope is that, since we saw the freshmen early on in the last three games, the freshmen will continue to play meaningful minutes when we play tougher competition.
There are a couple of things that could take the freshmen minutes away, though. Coleman Hawkins is potentially returning against Rutgers. Those are minutes that might be taken away from the freshmen. Illinois also shortened the bench against Marquette earlier this season. Illinois freshmen only received 13 total minutes in that game.
I think the Illinois freshmen are a huge part of this program. They can really help this team moving forward. I hope they don’t receive fewer minutes against tougher competition, but my guess is that they do starting on Saturday.