5. Illinois oddly went away from Ty Rodgers
I mentioned earlier that Brad Underwood made a gutsy decision to bench Terrence Shannon Jr. in the first half. This helped Illinois get back on track and win the game. But there was one big issue I had with Underwood’s game calling.
Illinois went away from Ty Rodgers on the offensive end of the court, and I believe this was a horrible decision by the coaching staff. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound right. Relying on Rodgers on offense usually sounds like a bad thing, but he has been really good on offense lately.
I posted about it during the game, and I really believe it. Ty Rodgers is 6-foot-6 but he plays with the heart of a 7-foot-1 big man. He is great in the paint, and Illinois needs to continue going to him. Rodgers needs to post up more, and the offense should go through him more often.
Rodgers finished the Indiana game with eight points and six rebounds. He hit 3-of-5 from the field and was 2-of-3 from the free throw line. When he was starting to heat up, Illinois went away from the young hybrid player. We started to have Coleman Hawkins post up or we were just swinging the ball around the perimeter.
It is on Underwood to notice that Rodgers is cooking. He needs to recognize this and not go away from Rodgers. Illinois was +8 when Rodgers was on the court. He was a huge part of this win, and he could have been an even bigger part if we continued to use him throughout the game.