5 massive observations from the Illinois basketball win over Duquesne

It has been nearly 20 years, but the Illinois basketball team is heading back to the Sweet 16.
Mar 23, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) claps after the
Mar 23, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) claps after the / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Illinois was able to get anything inside

This slide kind of piggybacks off the previous slide. When Quincy Guerrier gets going and is active, he can get into the lane and dominate the game. His presence inside is something special.

Illinois as a team is hard to stop inside the three-point arc. Duquesne felt that wrath on Saturday, as they had zero answers for when Illinois decided to get aggressive and not settle for three-point attempts.

Guerrier is an obvious example of that, as he had 10 points, and all made shots were in and around the paint. Marcus Domask is another prime example of dominance in the paint.

Domask is such a unique player. He never looks like he is going to be a dominant paint player, but he is one of the best paint players I have ever seen come through the Illinois basketball program.

The Dukes got a front-row seat to the Domask dominance. He made one three-point shot and still finished with 22 points. Domask was great with his back to the basket. There was one backdown that started closer to the three-point arc than the basket, but Domask still was able to get his man down into the restricted area and finished at the hoop with an and-one.

You can’t talk about getting anything inside the paint without mentioning Terrence Shannon Jr. too. His ability to get to the hoop and get points is amazing. I think his vision takes him to another level as far as talent goes too. Shannon can see when lanes are opening and when things are collapsing on him. The play when he drove to the left, had three players come down on him, and then dished the ball around those players for a Dain Dainja dunk showed me how special Shannon really is on the court.

Illinois’ ability to get whatever we want inside is special. I can’t wait to see the matchup against a tough Iowa State defense. That is going to be a fun game.