3. Brad Underwood needs to rely on the bench more
I think it is pretty clear that the starters struggled against Tennessee. I mentioned in the first slide that Terrence Shannon Jr. wasn’t hitting. Marcus Domask was 2-of-11 from the field. Coleman Hawkins was 4-of-13 from the field. Ty Rodgers failed to take a single shot.
So, four out of the five starters for Illinois were a combined 11-of-40 from the field, which is 27.5%. That would be bad for a three-point percentage let alone a regular shooting percentage. The three-point shooting gets even worse, though. The four starters also combined for 4-of-21 from three-point range, which is 19.0%.
Those four starters struggled greatly, so why didn’t Brad Underwood rely more on the Illinois bench?
Luke Goode received by far the most minutes off the bench with 23 minutes. He had a good night too, going for eight points, seven rebounds, two steals, and one assist on 2-of-5 shooting from three-point range. Goode ended up playing his normal minutes.
I am not sure why Dain Dainja only saw four minutes of action, though. He could have been a nice bruiser in the paint for the Illini. Dainja gave Illinois two points, three rebounds, and one block in just four minutes of action. I would like to have seen more of him throughout the game.
Justin Harmon has also done some nice work in the past couple of games. He had four points and two rebounds on 2-of-4 shooting from the field. But Harmon only received 12 minutes against the Volunteers. He could have given Shannon or Domask more of a breather, so they were fresh in the second half.
It seems like I always have an issue with Underwood not using his bench, but when it has been a long road trip and guys are tired, why not give them a rest? Keep the starters fresh to some extent and play the bench guys. It doesn’t make sense to just have the bench talent rotting while the starters are struggling.