5 big questions for the Illinois basketball team against Ohio State

Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini forward Quincy Guerrier (13)
Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Quincy Guerrier (13) / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Does Illinois break out of the three-point funk?

I touched on Bruce Thornton’s three-point shooting inefficiency in the last slide. He is shooting under 33% from three-point range this season. But Illinois hasn’t been great from three-point range as of late either.

There have been some moments this season when Illinois has been able to make three-pointers. We have seven games where we have shot over 40% from three-point range. But the bad far outweighs the good.

I want to see if Illinois can get back on track from three-point range against Ohio State. Can the Illini get out of the three-point funk we are in?

Before Terrence Shannon Jr.’s suspension, Illinois wasn’t a great three-point shooting team. We were hitting our shots at a clip of 32.6%, which ranked No. 199 in the nation. This number increased during his suspension, though.

Illinois managed to shoot 38.5% from three-point range in the six games Shannon was off the court. He has now been back in the Illinois lineup for three games, and in those contests, Illinois has shot 32.4% from three-point range.

I think there is a correlation here. I am not saying Shannon is directly at fault like he is bringing Illinois’ shooting down by missing shots. I do believe we don’t play team-oriented basketball with him on the court, though. The ball doesn’t move nearly enough, and the result is fewer good looks at the basket.

Brad Underwood seemed to adjust some things after the first eight minutes against Indiana. He benched Shannon and had him ride the pine in the final 12 minutes of the first half. In the second half, Shannon looked better. In the post-game press conference, Underwood touched on the fact the ball didn’t move as well when Shannon was on the court. I fully expect there to be more ball movement and for Illinois to get out of the three-point funk against Ohio State.