3. Can the Illini keep Purdue off the free throw line?
Purdue is a team that can get nasty. They do a lot of work at the free throw line, and this is when teams can get in trouble against the Boilermakers. Letting Purdue get free shots is never a good idea.
One of the main players for the Boilermakers to get to the free throw line is big man, Zach Edey. He is a menace in the paint, and teams just bash on him because of his 7-foot-4 size. This season, Edey has shot at least eight free throws in 12 out of 13 games.
That leaves me to question, can Illinois keep Purdue off the free throw line?
The scariest part about Edey getting to the charity stripe is the fact he is a good free throw shooter. He is shooting a career-high 76.7% from the free throw line this season.
As a team, the Boilermakers are attempting 24.3 free throws per game, which ranks No. 29 in the country. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Illinois doesn’t allow opponents to get to the charity stripe often. The Illini allow 15.0 free throws per game, which ranks No. 23 in the nation.
Illinois’ quick hands intrigue me when it comes to someone like Edey. Coleman Hawkins and Ty Rodgers are both great at getting a piece of the ball in and around the paint. If Edey brings the ball down, those two should be able to strip it away without fouling.
With that being said, Illinois allowed Purdue to get to the free throw line for 28 attempts in the lone game last season. That is a lot of foul shots and we only fell to the Boilermakers by five points.
If Illinois can keep Purdue’s free throw attempts to somewhere between 18-22 on Friday night, then I think we can come away from Mackey Arena with a victory.