5 key questions for the Illinois basketball team against Purdue

It is a matchup between two Big Ten titans, as the Illinois basketball team looks to move up the national rankings against the Purdue Boilermakers on Tuesday night.
Jan 27, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja (42) dunks
Jan 27, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja (42) dunks / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Does Zach Edey get in foul trouble again?

I hope Illinois basketball fans are somewhat enjoying what we are watching on the basketball court. While it is painful to lose against Purdue, we have to respect the historical nature of what we are watching.

Zach Edey isn’t just a good basketball player. He is one of the best and most dominating players in Big Ten history. His averages of 24.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 1.9 assists are insane.

That is why getting Edey in foul trouble is a good strategy. It has worked in the past, but can Illinois get Edey in foul trouble once again on Tuesday night?

Last season, Edey registered three fouls in 27 minutes. He had to deal with a bit of foul trouble, but it didn’t hamper him too much. The game back in January was a different story. He picked up a couple of quick fouls and registered four fouls in the game. The foul trouble reduced his minutes down to 23.

What is a good way to get Edey in foul trouble? There are two ways I believe Illinois can achieve this goal.

The first way is to continuously be aggressive. We are playing in Champaign, so there will obviously be some home cooking. Let’s get downhill and get to the rim. That will force Edey to either be conservative and back away or to be aggressive as well and risk fouling.

The other way I believe the Illini can get Edey in foul trouble is by fundamentals. Can we box out? Boxing out on rebounds will force Edey to go over the back, and this could draw a couple of cheap fouls.

Edey is one of the best players I have ever seen, but Illinois can get under his skin. Let’s get the big man in foul trouble and even the playing field.