5 big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Northwestern

Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) guard
Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) guard / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Will Justin Harmon continue with crucial production?

There are so many players who are vying for the spotlight on the Illinois basketball team. Coleman Hawkins is playing some great basketball and is looked at as a potential NBA Draft pick. Illinois also has players like Ty Rodgers who is starting to play quality basketball, and Terrence Shannon Jr. who is the leading scorer on the team.

Justin Harmon is someone who not many people talk about, though. He is a 6-foot-4 guard Illinois brings off the bench for some production throughout the game. But his importance is extremely underrated

I want to see if Harmon’s production can continue off the bench against Northwestern. That production isn’t just a few points here and there. He has proven to be crucial for the Illini, so will that crucial production continue?

Harmon is averaging 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists this season. He is also shooting 40.9% from three-point range. I looked at his numbers, and when he has good games, Illinois has more success. In fact, when Harmon scores seven or more points, the Illini are 9-0 this season. When Harmon scores fewer than seven points, Illinois is just 5-4.

In the last game against Northwestern, Harmon found himself coming up big once again. He finished the win with 20 points, two rebounds, and two assists on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and 4-of-5 from three-point range.

Harmon’s best looks are when he is set up. The ball is either moving around the perimeter and finds him or an Illinois player drives and dishes to an open Harmon. That is when he is at his best. I also love the ability of Harmon to get to the rim. His ability to finish around the hoop is underrated.