Illinois Basketball: 5 big questions for the Illini against Missouri

Illinois v Maryland
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3. Will Brad Underwood play more of an inside-out game?

Sometimes when the matchup is right, you have to expose the other team’s weakness. I touched on this in an earlier slide, but Missouri is a fairly small team.

The Tigers’ biggest starter is Aidan Shaw, who stands at 6-foot-8, 205 pounds. That is who will be playing in the middle for Missouri. They do have 7-foot-5 Connor Vanover coming off the bench, but he doesn’t play a ton, only averaging 12.5 minutes per game.

With that being said, does Illinois take advantage of the smaller Missouri size and play more of an inside-out game against the Tigers?

Seton Hall’s big man had 11 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks against Missouri. Hunter Dickinson had 13 points and 16 rebounds for Kansas against the Tigers. Even Wichita State’s center had eight points and eight rebounds against Missouri. There is plenty of opportunity for Illinois’ big men to have a big game.

Dain Dainja has seen reduced minutes over the past four games, but he has still been effective. I think getting him involved early and often would be a good idea. He only has an inch in the paint, but Dainja can throw around his size.

I would also like to see Coleman Hawkins in the paint on the offensive end of the court. He has great touch on his hook shot, and I think he could tear apart the Missouri frontcourt.

Illinois needs to utilize the No. 4 and No. 5 spots on Friday night. We can’t just sit back and shoot from deep. Let’s dominate the paint.