Illinois basketball is looking to continue the push for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament with a win over Nebraska on Sunday.
The Cornhuskers just knocked off the top team in the Big Ten, Wisconsin, and they are playing some great basketball. They also have a deep team from top to bottom. Illinois protecting homecourt on Sunday will not be an easy task.
Here are five big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Nebraska
1. Did Dain Dainja earn more minutes?
Illinois basketball has a wealth of talent on the roster. If someone gets in foul trouble or gets injured, there is another starting-quality player waiting in the wings.
This applies to every position as well. In the last game against Ohio State, Coleman Hawkins got in foul trouble. He is the Illini starter at the No. 5 spot. Thankfully, due to Brad Underwood’s ability to recruit and build out a roster, Illinois has Dain Dainja waiting for his chance to shine.
In the game against the Buckeyes, Dainja finished with 11 minutes and had seven points, five rebounds, and one block. He was also 3-of-5 shooting from the floor and made his lone free throw. With this great performance, did Dainja earn more minutes on the court?
This isn’t Dainja’s first solid game of the season either. It seems like every time he comes into the game, whether it be a couple of minutes or for double-digit minutes, he is effective.
If you look at Dainja’s per 40 minutes stats, he is one of the best on the team. These are the stats for players if they played 40 minutes in a game. Dainja would be second on the team in scoring with 23.5 points per game, and he would lead the team with 13.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
Dainja is a solid player who can give Illinois some good minutes each night. He has shown this, especially in the last game against Ohio State. Let’s see if that performance has earned him more time on the court.