5 big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Indiana

Illinois basketball didn't look good this past Wednesday, but we have a big opportunity to get back on the winning train on Saturday against Indiana.
Jan 21, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Noah Fernandes (1) drives to
Jan 21, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Noah Fernandes (1) drives to / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 5

2. Can the Illini just defend homecourt?

I am going to continue to rehash the fact that Illinois’ loss on Wednesday night to Northwestern was ugly. There is no way around it. It was embarrassing how bad the Illini defense looked.

But there is one caveat to all of this. The game was on the road. Illinois traveled up to Northwestern and laid the egg on Wednesday.

On Saturday, I want to see if Illinois can take down Indiana at home. Can we just defend the home court and move on in the 2023-24 season?

The Big Ten is tough, especially on the road. To win a road game is a great accomplishment. So, my thinking is, if Illinois can win our home games and then win at least half of our road Big Ten contests, then we will cruise into the NCAA tournament.

After the loss to the Wildcats, Illinois is now 2-2 in Big Ten road games. The final six road games include Ohio State, Michigan State, Maryland, Penn State, No. 13 Wisconsin, and Iowa. There are some winnable games in there.

Illinois has also been pretty tough at home this season. We are 11-2 at home and 3-1 in the Big Ten. The Illini will be taking on an Indiana team that isn’t great on the road too.

The Hoosiers are just 1-3 in four road games this season. The only win was over a bad Michigan team by three points. In Indiana’s three losses, they are falling by an average of 12.3 points in each game.

This is Illinois’ chance to take down an Indiana team that struggles on the road. We have to defend our home court to continue having a solid chance at a good seed in the NCAA tournament. As long as we take care of business at home, everything should be okay.