Illinois basketball hits the road on Tuesday night to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Illini are coming off a much-needed win over Indiana just days ago, and winning two in a row is crucial at this point. We need to string some wins together, as we haven't won more than two games in a row since late December.
Ohio State is on the struggle bus right now, but winning on the road in the Big Ten is never an easy feat. Illinois will have to accomplish this goal on Tuesday, though.
Here are five big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Ohio State
1. Can Terrence Shannon Jr. start being more team-oriented?
The last game against Indiana was wild. Illinois started the contest off in an ugly way, and a lot of this bad start had to do with the play of Terrence Shannon Jr.
While Shannon awaits his preliminary hearing in May on a charge of rape, he is allowed to play basketball. Since coming back from his six-game suspension, it seems that he has been trying to overcompensate and make up for lost time on the court.
On Tuesday night, I want to see if Shannon can calm his game down a bit. Can the star guard start being more team-oriented and less selfish with the basketball?
I think we can all agree that Shannon is a really good basketball player. He has the ability to go downhill and finish at the rim, or at worst, draw contact and get to the free throw line. His ability to get to the rim enables him to get open three-point looks, as defenders have to sag off of him because of the threat of driving.
All of that is true. But what else is true is the fact that Shannon can be a black hole when it comes to the ball. Since coming back from his suspension, when he gets the ball, Shannon tends to hold it and the offense comes to a halt. Shannon then forces some type of bad shot and the opposing team gets the ball back.
I want to see Shannon be more part of the team than a star. He needs to get reacclimated back into the lineup. When the ball does swing to him, continue to swing it. Don’t let the ball stop. In transition, Shannon can push the ball and get the defense on their heels. That is when he is at his best. But in the halfcourt, I want to see more team ball. I will be keeping an eye on that against Ohio State.