Illinois basketball is licking our wounds after a tough loss to Northwestern on Wednesday night.
This wasn't one of those games when the Illini looked great but the opposing team was too good. I was extremely disappointed with the Illinois defense, and allowing 96 points to any team is unacceptable, let alone to a team like Northwestern.
Illinois is back in action against Indiana on Saturday, though. The Illini need the memory of a goldfish, as this is a big game and we need to secure our home court. Indiana is on a slide, but they are a competitive program. There is no letting up in the Big Ten.
Here are five big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Indiana
1. Does Illinois revert back to normal 3-point defense?
For much of the 2023-24 season, Illinois has been a great defensive team. We continuously shut down teams when they have tried to go on runs.
But on Wednesday night, the Illini looked terrible defensively. We allowed Northwestern to have pretty much whatever they wanted, especially from three-point range. That has to change against Indiana.
So, I want to see if Illinois can revert back to our old ways. Can we play our normal three-point defense against the Hoosiers on Saturday?
Indiana isn’t a knockout three-point shooting team, thankfully. They are only hitting their three-point attempts at a clip of 34.1%, and Indiana is only shooting 15.4 three-pointers per game. These numbers rank No. 155 and No. 353 in the nation, respectively.
Before Wednesday night’s disaster of a performance by the Illini, we were only allowing opponents to shoot 30.7% from three-point range, which ranked No. 39 in the nation. After allowing the Wildcats to shoot 61.1%, Illinois has now dropped to allowing opponents to shoot 32.2% from three-point range, which ranks No. 107 in the country.
I believe Illinois is going to get back on the horse when it comes to three-point defense. It seemed like Illinois went into that Northwestern game thinking we were just going to steamroll the Wildcats. We weren’t prepared. Brad Underwood likely won’t let that happen again. I would imagine there is going to be a massive correction and look for Indiana to shoot sub-35% from three-point range.