5 huge observations from the Illinois basketball win over Wisconsin

It wasn't easy, but the Illinois basketball came away from the Kohl Center with another big win over Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon.
Mar 2, 2024; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini players forward Quincy Guerrier (13),
Mar 2, 2024; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini players forward Quincy Guerrier (13), / Kayla Wolf-USA TODAY Sports
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Illinois basketball showed off great firepower on Saturday in a big win over Wisconsin.

This wasn't going to be an easy game by any means. The Illini had to go up to the Kohl Center to take on a Wisconsin team that needed a victory. It was a road game in the Big Ten, and those are so tough to win.

Illinois played some great basketball, though. We woke up halfway through the first half and started to click. This led to a halftime lead, 39-37.

Wisconsin came out in the second half with some fight. It was a close game until the final five minutes or so when the Illini depth couldn't be handled. We kept throwing punches, and the Badgers couldn't fight back. Illinois ended up winning the game, 91-83.

Here are five huge observations from the Illinois basketball win over Wisconsin

1. Illinois basketball has the depth to win the national championship

I have seen some pretty great Illinois basketball teams in my lifetime. The group that went to the national championship in 2005 was obviously the greatest team I have ever seen.

That team had special talent, and the future 3x NBA All-Star and 2x All-NBA guard Deron Williams wasn’t even our best player. Salute to you, Dee Brown. Watching them play great basketball and get to the pinnacle of the sport was fun.

I can honestly say, that the team I am watching right now, the 2023-24 Illinois basketball team, is the best group since that 2005 run. Our defense won’t ever be as good as that group, but this might be one of the best offenses in program history.

The offensive depth on the team right now is incredible. You have Terrence Shannon Jr. who is going to put up a big number each night. Even if he isn’t shooting well, he is getting to the free throw line.

Coleman Hawkins is playing some incredible basketball. Once he started to get smarter and drive the lane, his game really started to blossom. And then you have Marcus Domask. He might be the most dangerous sub-6-foot-7 player I have ever seen in the paint, but you can’t leave him open on the perimeter either.

That Illinois Big 3 is special and could go down as one of the greatest trios in program history. But just when you think you have things figured out by guarding those guys heavily, they find the open man.

There were numerous times against Wisconsin when the Illinois Big 3 made the right play. Shannon or Domask would drive the lane and the defense collapsed. They would kick the ball out to someone like Quincy Guerrier, a 6-foot-8 athletic freak who can shoot three-pointers.

Is your starting five tired? Too bad. Illinois can bring in one of the most athletic big men the program has ever seen. While Dain Dainja didn’t have a good night against Wisconsin, his physicality will wear opposing big me down.

Wisconsin’s defense had to be on guard the entire night too because Illinois brings in Justin Harmon who can hit three-pointers, but he has found his aggression toward the basket. You can’t leave Luke Goode open, or he will hit a three-pointer in your eye.

Offensively, this might be the most talented team I have ever seen in Champaign. We have now scored at least 80 points in nine straight games. In four of those contests, we hit the 90-point mark, and we hit 100 points in another game in this stretch. This is some incredible basketball. It is a national championship-caliber offense.