3. Will Illinois expose the mismatches in the paint?
As I touched on in the previous slide, both teams are fairly guard-heavy. Tennessee plays a lot of guards, and they are the main scoring threats. Their guards are also very long and can really cause chaos.
Illinois has a lot of guards too. While some might be listed as forwards, I consider Marcus Domask and Ty Rodgers both guards on the team. Their length will definitely give Tennessee some problems too.
One of the advantages I believe Illinois will have on Saturday is size in the paint. The Volunteers might be a little too guard-heavy, and this is a chance for the Illini to take advantage of some height.
So, can Illinois expose these mismatches? I believe we have some opportunities to expose Tennessee, but can we consistently find these opportunities throughout the game?
Tennessee only has one player with great size who plays big minutes. Jonas Aidoo, at 6-foot-11, will be Illinois’ biggest problem in the paint. He starts at the No. 5 spot, but the tallest player after him is at 6-foot-6.
I imagine Coleman Hawkins will get the starting nod against Aidoo on Saturday. They are both around the same size, so this should be a good matchup.
The mismatch I am eyeing is with Quincy Guerrier. He is 6-foot-8 and can play anywhere on the court. He is quick and can guard the perimeter, and he can also play in the paint. I could see Guerrier not giving up anything defensively and then coming back down the court and backing down a smaller 6-foot-6 guard.
I also see Guerrier dominating in the rebounding department. He is already doing so against bigger competition, but now that Tennessee will throw a smaller guard on him, I could see Guerrier pulling down 12-15 rebounds against the Volunteers. Look for the Illini to expose some mismatches like the one with Guerrier on Saturday.