5 crucial observations from the Illinois basketball win over Rutgers

Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33)
Jan 18, 2024; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Ty Rodgers and Luke Goode sacrificing minutes

The Illini got Terrence Shannon Jr. back on Sunday. With the excitement of having our leading scorer back, there is a price to pay on the court.

Illinois was missing Shannon for six games, so the lineups had started to get used to playing well together. Chemistry was built in the three or so weeks he was gone, but now that he is back, someone had to sacrifice minutes on the court.

It looks like those minutes are going to come from Ty Rodgers and Luke Goode. Goode, who replaced Shannon in the starting lineup, only played 19 minutes against Rutgers. Granted, he did have four fouls, but I believe Goode would have been around 20 minutes regardless.

Rodgers only saw 14 minutes of action against Rutgers too. He has played some great basketball lately, but the developing wing had a couple of fouls. Brad Underwood took the chance to replace him with Shannon.

Since Shannon is available, I understand playing him a large number of minutes. But I will say, it kind of sucks that Rodgers and Goode have to sacrifice their development now that Shannon has been cleared by a judge to play basketball.

I was really starting to see Rodgers coming into his own. He was doing a little bit of everything on the court, and his scoring was starting to come around. I think he has a really bright future, but we will now have to wait for that future next season.

Shannon is a great player and is going to get the starting nod on Wednesday against Northwestern. But let’s not ignore the sacrifices that the team is making for him to get playing time again.