Illinois Basketball: 5 big questions for the Illini against Maryland

Jan 11, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33)
Jan 11, 2024; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini forward Coleman Hawkins (33) / Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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2. Will the Illini be able to cool down Jahmir Young?

Despite the average record, Maryland has some talent on the roster. One of their best players is senior, Jahmir Young. He has been their main source of scoring, among other things, this season.

Young has been on fire for the Terrapins. He has scored double-digit points in 14 out of the 15 games he has played this season, and in the only game he failed to hit that mark, the talented guard put up nine points.

This leaves me to wonder, will Illinois be able to cool down Young? Can we keep this talented future All-Big Ten guard in check?

Young has averaged 19.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game for the 2023-24 season. He is also an avid shooter, hitting 41.7% from the field and 34.5% from three-point range.

Over the past five games, Young has played some of his best basketball of the year. He has hit 11-of-25, 44%, from three-point range during this stretch of games. Since he can do just about everything on the court well, it will be tough to slow Young down.

I think Illinois can accomplish this goal, though. We are coming off a win over Michigan State who has a similar guard in Tyson Walker. Walker finished with 17 points but was just 8-of-17 from the field and 1-of-7 from three-point range.

Both Walker and Young are 6-foot-1 as well. Ty Rodgers is going to be covering Young, so I think his 6-foot-6 length will be tough for him to shoot over from distance. I also expect Rodgers’ quickness and suffocating defense will also be a nightmare for Young.

Illinois should be able to contain Young to, at worst, an inefficient night. He might have double-digit points, but they won’t come easy or efficiently.