5 huge observations from the Illinois basketball win over Iowa State

The wait to get back to the Elite 8 is finally over, as the Illinois basketball team managed to hold on against No. 2 seed Iowa State on Thursday night.
Illinois v Iowa State
Illinois v Iowa State / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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4. Coleman Hawkins have a night

An efficient Coleman Hawkins is one of the scariest players in college basketball. He is someone who can turn the ball over at a high rate, but when he is clicking, watch out world.

The efficiency of Hawkins has been cranked up in the NCAA tournament as well. He finished the Iowa State game with 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals while not having a single turnover in the game. He was also 4-of-8 from the field and 2-of-5 from three-point range.

Hawkins has now gone back-to-back games without a turnover, and he has only had two turnovers in his last four games. It is like the game is slowing down for him. He gets what he needs to do with the basketball. Hawkins doesn’t just chuck it three rows deep in the stands anymore.

Against the Cyclones, Hawkins’ efficiency continued to shine. The ability to rocket a pass into his teammate was huge for the Illini. Hawkins hit Terrence Shannon Jr. on a bullet pass in the corner to get Illinois scoring again in the second half. This was a big momentum changer. He also got the ball rotating around the perimeter quite often, which helped create more open looks.

I have been extremely impressed with Hawkins’ shot selection over the past few weeks. He isn’t taking bad shots. When Hawkins does shoot the ball, it is usually in rhythm and in his sweet spot, which is toward the top of the key.

Hawkins had another huge night for Illinois. He isn’t putting up massive points, but he is doing everything for the Illini, and he is doing it efficiently. Hawkins is one of the main reasons we have gone on this magical run.