5. The Illini can’t get out of our own way
This was a big win on Saturday night. In years past, Illinois tended to drop random games like this, but we were prepared to take on Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights couldn’t handle the Illini.
With that being said, Illinois wins ugly. We aren’t a team that wins pretty while suffocating a team with three-pointers or having fundamental backdoor cuts that the opposing defense can’t handle.
Illinois is a team that plays nasty defense and grinds out on offense. With this style comes some frustrating plays, though. We can’t get out of our own way at times.
There were so many instances throughout the Rutgers game that were frustrating. Terrence Shannon Jr. would make a great play or hit a big shot, but then the next possession down, he would speed down the court and chuck the ball out of bounds.
Another instance in the Rutgers game that made me scratch my head was when Dain Dainja had the ball at the top of the key. He decided to take matters into his own hands and dribble to the basket. This resulted in a bad shot that was baffling.
The careless turnovers were a real problem against Rutgers. I mentioned Shannon’s issues with throwing the ball wildly out of bounds, but he wasn’t the only one turning the ball over. Illinois had 17 turnovers to just 12 assists against the Scarlet Knights. That is the second-highest turnover total of the season.
Illinois is a really good team full of really good players. But if we can’t get the turnovers and sloppiness out of the equation, then we could struggle at times throughout the season.