5 massive observations from the Illinois basketball win over Ohio State

It wasn't easy but the Illinois basketball team still managed to emerge with a Big Ten Tournament win over Ohio State on Friday night.
Mar 15, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja (42) celebrates
Mar 15, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Dain Dainja (42) celebrates / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
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2. It feels like Ty Rodgers could be used like that more often

There are quite a few players on the Illinois basketball team who have the potential to blossom into stars. I love what Niccolo Moretti brings to the court. Amani Hansberry and Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn are also fun to watch. But the player that I am eyeing who I believe has the most star potential is Ty Rodgers.

Rodgers does things on the court at 6-foot-6 that is extremely rare. Honestly, he is like our Charles Barkley. He isn’t huge, but his grit and toughness on the glass are something to marvel at on the court.

Most people don’t look at Rodgers as having the key contributor abilities, but he once again flashed them against Ohio State. He finished the game with 12 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, and one block on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. Rodgers logged 32 minutes as well.

The thing with Rodgers is that he isn’t looked to for offensive production nearly enough. During the season, it was the main upperclassmen who would get the ball and try to score. There were a couple of games when Illinois looked to Rodgers, but it was rare.

On Friday night, Rodgers needed to put up points, and he delivered for the program. He got the ball around the bucket and had the ability to find a way to make the shot. At 6-foot-6, Rodgers has a great paint presence, and I wish he was used in this capacity more often. Illinois could use another paint monster.

It would also help the Illini to use Rodgers, as we did on Friday night, when the offense is stalling out. We went on a couple of droughts against Ohio State, but having someone like Rodgers to go to around the hoop for points would be a nice luxury. Let’s start using the star forward more often on the offensive end of the court.