5 big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Iowa

Mar 5, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) drives
Mar 5, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) drives / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Who is going to help Coleman Hawkins?

Illinois has a 6-foot-10 big man who can play in the paint and then step out and shoot the three-point shot. Coleman Hawkins has been a roller coaster of emotions throughout his career. Sometimes he is frustrating to watch and other times, he can put up a big number and carry Illinois to a win.

Hawkins had a huge game against Iowa back on February 24, and since then, he has played some efficient basketball. Despite Hawkins having a great game against Iowa just weeks ago, his teammates didn’t pitch in much.

So, will Hawkins get some help on the offensive end of the court on Sunday? Who will help him in the scoring department?

It was so fun to watch Hawkins go off against the Hawkeyes back in February. He was playing so free and fun. He dropped 30 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range. He also hit 9-of-11 from the free throw line.

Hawkins put up 31.6% of Illinois’ points against Iowa. That is an insane number, and it is hard to sustain if he isn’t on fire on Sunday. Someone else has to step up and help.

Marcus Domask had a head-scratching game against Iowa in February. He had eight points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field. He needs to be involved more in the game. Getting Domask deeper in the paint is going to be crucial. He should be able to back his man down and either wiggle to the rim or do his patented buttery fadeaway.

I wasn’t impressed with Terrence Shannon Jr. in that first game either. He had 12 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-of-7 from three-point range. Shannon only shooting two free throws means he wasn’t being nearly aggressive enough. We need Shannon going downhill and getting to the charity stripe at least eight times each game.