5 massive questions for the Illinois basketball team against Iowa

Coming off a horrible loss to Penn State, the Illinois basketball team needs to bounce back. There are a few questions that I have entering a big game against Iowa on Saturday.
Feb 17, 2024; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood looks
Feb 17, 2024; College Park, Maryland, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood looks / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Did Iowa take some pointers from the Illinois loss to Penn State?

I am still not over the terrible loss Illinois took on Wednesday night against Penn State. This was one of the worst losses of the Brad Underwood era.

It was clear that the Nittany Lions came in with a game plan and executed it with perfection. Illinois has certain weaknesses defensively, and they exposed us the entire night.

So, I want to see if Iowa took some advice from the tapes. Will the Hawkeyes take some pointers from what Penn State did on Wednesday and use that knowledge against the Illini?

It was such a frustrating performance from the Illini defensively. We couldn’t stop Iowa in the least bit. There were a few key areas where Illinois struggled the most.

If Iowa were smart, they would implement more backdoor screens and passes. Illinois didn’t adjust to Penn State making these plays, and they torched us the entire night. The Illini defenders would always be caught flatfooted, and the Nittany Lions had a wide-open layup.

Penn State had a great inbound play on the baseline. They ran this play at least three times, and it resulted in an easy layup each time. It wasn’t a complicated play either. A Penn State player came off a screen, and the Illini had zero communication. No one dropped off on the Penn State player coming around the screen. Look for this inbound play to be implemented on Saturday against the Illini.

Lastly, I am curious if Iowa is going to try to take the Illinois guards off the dribble. We are extremely slow off the dribble, and Penn State exposed that fact. Justin Harmon, Marcus Domask, and Luke Goode have a slow first step. This is an area that Iowa is likely to look at and take advantage of against Illinois.