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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2. Another slow start for the Illini

In the last slide, I raved about Illinois’ ability to score the basketball. I am watching what could be the best offense in program history. But this team does have some flaws, even on the offensive end of the court.

One issue that I continue to have is the slow starts by the Illini. Slow starts have been an issue this season, and the Wisconsin game was no exception.

The Badgers jumped on Illinois early on in the game. At the 15-minute mark in the first half, Wisconsin was up 10-5. They were feeding off the momentum of the crowd, and Illinois looked lethargic to start.

Wisconsin’s lead continued to grow too. They were up 20-13 10 minutes into the game. It is like Illinois gives the opponent the first 10 minutes to do whatever they want, and then it is like a switch flips and we play incredible basketball in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Terrence Shannon Jr. had a great game, but he was missing in action in the first eight minutes against the Badgers. During this stretch, Shannon took one shot and missed it. He was 0-of-1 from the field and 1-of-2 from the free throw line for one point, two rebounds, and one steal. It almost feels like Shannon takes the first 8-10 minutes of each game as a warm-up. He then finally gets warm and starts to dominate.

Slow starts have been a trend for the Illini. Once we get over that 10-minute hump, things tend to change. Illinois looks like an elite team, and we take the game over. It is just fascinating to watch. It is a Rocky Balboa mentality. Take a few punches and then start punching back.