5 crucial questions for the Illinois basketball team against Iowa State

The Sweet 16 is not too far away, and the Illinois basketball team is eyeing a potential trip to the Elite 8. We have to get through Iowa State first, though.
Mar 23, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) smiles on the
Mar 23, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) smiles on the / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 5

3. Can Illinois keep Iowa State in check from the perimeter?

The three-point arc is the equalizer in games. It can determine if a team goes home or if they continue advancing deep into the NCAA tournament.

Just ask the Kentucky Wildcats. They fell to No. 14 Oakland in the first round, and it is due to the Golden Grizzlies going 15-of-31, 48.4%, from three-point range.

I am curious if three-pointers will be a huge factor in the game on Thursday. Can Illinois keep Iowa State in check when it comes to shots beyond the three-point arc?

Iowa State is not an intimidating team when it comes to the quantity of three-pointers attempted each game. They aren’t a team that comes down the court and looks to jack up a three-point attempt. The Cyclones average 18.6 three-point attempts per game, which ranks No. 305 out of 362 DI teams.

The Cyclones are methodical with their three-point shots, though. They aren’t going to take a ton, but when they do, they go in the bucket quite often. This season, Iowa State has hit their three-point shots at a clip of 35.6%, which ranks No. 84 in the nation.

In the last game against Washington State, Iowa State was again methodical with their shots from three-point range. They only took 14 three-pointers and made seven of the attempts. That is the type of shooting that will get under your skin.

Iowa State is going to be dangerous from three-point range. They don’t take a lot, but they can make them. So, Illinois needs to find a way to hold the Cyclones to somewhere below 40% from three-point range. If we can do that, I think this is a victory for the Orange and Blue.