5 massive observations from the Illinois basketball win over Minnesota

It wasn't an easy win by any means, but Illinois basketball played incredibly well offensively to come away with a huge Big Ten win on Wednesday night.
Feb 28, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja (42) drives pas
Feb 28, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja (42) drives pas / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Defense doesn’t exist with the Illinois basketball team

I touched on the Illinois offense in the first slide. The offense is playing at a level I have never seen in my lifetime. We are clicking on all cylinders when it comes to scoring the basketball.

The same can kind of be said for the Illinois defense. They are playing at a level I have never seen before. I have never seen the Illini defense look this bad in my lifetime.

Illinois has now given up at least 80 points in four straight games and six out of the last seven contests. That is a streak that is unmatched as far as I can see. Giving up that many points in that many games should mean losses, but our offense is saving the day.

The 97 points Illinois surrendered to Minnesota on Wednesday night were the most points allowed since January 11, 2018. We gave up 104 points to Iowa in a loss in overtime.

It was insane to watch what the Golden Gophers were able to do to the Illinois defense. They were unstoppable. It was like watching the 2024 NBA All-Star Game. There is zero defense being played all night long.

Minnesota ended up shooting 60.0% from the field and 70.0% from the three-point arc. If you told me the Golden Gophers put up those numbers before the game started, I would have said Illinois was going to lose this game.

The main culprit of the bad defense is Marcus Domask. He is great offensively with his great touch and physical ability, but his defense is horrendous. His first step is so slow. The offensive player usually blows by Domask, and this gets the Illinois defense out of sorts. An Illinois player has to come help, and that leaves an offensive player open. This results in a bucket.

No one is playing well defensively for the Illini right now. I see rumblings that Terrence Shannon Jr. or Coleman Hawkins should be in discussions for All-Defense, but you can’t make that argument when Illinois is surrendering as many points as they have the past few weeks. This team doesn’t play defense, and thankfully, we have an offense to counterbalance the poor defensive effort.