5 huge questions for the Illinois basketball team against Wisconsin

Feb 28, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood reacts
Feb 28, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood reacts / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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3. What does the Illinois three-point defense look like?

I have already mentioned this in the slide show, and I have touched on it numerous times throughout the past month. Illinois’ defense is horrible. One area on the court that is particularly bad is three-point defense.

Illinois is currently allowing opponents to shoot 33.9% from three-point range each night. That ranks No. 190 in the country. Over the past three games, that number has dropped too. We are allowing opponents to shoot 52.0% from three-point range in this three-game stretch.

So, can Illinois stop Wisconsin’s three-point shooters? What does the Illini three-point defense look like on Saturday?

You can expand further on the bad Illinois three-point defense too. The Illini have allowed opponents to shoot over 33% in seven out of the last 10 games, and opponents have shot at least 42% from three-point range in five of those contests.

Thankfully, Wisconsin isn’t a great three-point shooting team. They are hitting at a clip of 33.9% this season, which ranks No. 181 in the nation.

The thing that scares me is the fact Illinois isn’t good at perimeter defense, and Wisconsin is a willing three-point shooting team. They also run plays to get open on the perimeter, and that is Illinois’ weakness.

My hope is that the length of the Illinois guards plays a factor in this game. Chucky Hepburn is only 6-foot-2 and Max Klesmit is 6-foot-4. The fact Illinois throws up five starters who are at least 6-foot-6 could help.

Look for AJ Storr to do well against the Illini, though. He has been a star for Wisconsin this season, and Illinois’ guards are terrible off the dribble. He might have a big game on Saturday, as he can hit from three-point range but can also take the ball inside.