3. Will Illinois be able to cool down Michigan State’s 3-point shooting?
Piggybacking off the previous slide, Michigan State is great at shooting from three-point range. They are one of the best teams in the country from beyond the three-point arc.
For the season, the Spartans are shooting 35.9% from three-point range. That is good enough to rank No. 76 in the country. Illinois is solid at stopping opponents from converting three-pointers. We are only allowing opponents to shoot 32.2% from three-point distance.
So, will Illinois be able to cool down the Spartans from three-point range on Thursday night?
While Michigan State has been a good three-point shooting team, they have been excellent the past two games. They have shot 19-of-40, 47.5%, in this stretch from beyond the three-point arc. It has been a team effort too.
Michigan State’s three guards, Jaden Akins, AJ Hoggard, and Tyson Walker shot a combined 9-of-17, 52.9%, from three-point range against Northwestern. The Spartans starters were a combined 9-of-15, 60.0%, against Penn State.
Against Purdue, Illinois was a bit lazy stepping out and covering the three-point arc. This allowed the Boilermakers to shoot 47.4%. We have to cover the three-point arc or the Spartans will tear us apart. The mesh point between the screens and the shooter is important too. Illinois needs to switch when this happens or they will have open shots consistently.
As mentioned in the previous slide, I think Illinois’ length will end up giving Michigan State some problems. Their guards will have to shoot over 6-foot-6 or taller Illini guards. That is a nice luxury to have for the Orange and Blue.