Illinois Basketball: 5 big questions for the Illini against Missouri

Illinois v Maryland
Illinois v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages
4 of 5

4. Is Illinois aggressive toward the basket?

This slide kind of goes hand-in-hand with the previous slide, but I believe Illinois basketball is at its best when players are being aggressive. We need to consistently drive to the hoop and create contact.

Illinois finished out the road trip against Tennessee. The Volunteers were killing us in nearly every statistical category, but do you know how we kept the game close? Illinois went 24-of-28 from the free throw line. That was the most free throw attempts of the season.

That aggression could have come in handy against Marquette as well. Illinois only managed to get to the free throw line for 13 attempts against the Golden Eagles, which was the third-lowest total of the season. If we could have been more aggressive against Marquette, who knows how that game would have turned out.

On Friday night, I want to see if Illinois can keep this energy. Can Illinois continue to be aggressive toward the basket?

The main player I think of when it comes to aggression is Terrence Shannon Jr. Last season, he settled a lot and didn’t drive to the hoop nearly enough. This season, for the most part, he has been a monster in the paint. He is getting to the free throw line, and this has helped him average 20.9 points per game.

I like it when other Illinois players are slashing as well. Ty Rodgers isn’t at his best when he is just passing the ball around the perimeter. I need to see him slashing toward the hoop and potentially creating some backdoor cuts.

It would probably help Marcus Domask be more consistent if he stopped playing on the perimeter and started getting to the hoop. At 6-foot-6, Domask can do some damage against Missouri.

Let’s get to the hoop. If Illinois wants a chance to go deep in the NCAA tournament, we have to continue to be aggressive.