4. Does Illinois continue to slash and cut to the basket?
As a regular person who does not play basketball at a high level, I can’t imagine just standing next to Zach Edey, let alone going up against him in a game.
Edey must be somewhat intimidating as far as his size goes in the paint. He is huge, and taking the ball at him must be a daunting task.
So, I want to see if Illinois stays aggressive against Edey and the Boilermakers on Friday night. Do we continue to slash and cut to the basket?
Last season, nearly half the shots Illinois took against Purdue were from three-point range. That cannot happen again this time around. The Illini need to continue to drive the lane.
When someone like Justin Harmon or Marcus Domask drives into the paint, Edey will collapse, along with the man guarding them. That means there is an open Illinois player. That player, someone like Ty Rodgers, needs to be slashing to the rim. Domask can dump the ball off to Rodgers for an easy bucket.
That is a good way to get Edey away from the basket. Another reason I want to see if Illinois continues to slash to the hoop is the fact Purdue is going to play some zone. I imagine Edey is going to camp out in the paint when they do go to zone. That means Illinois needs to move to find open space. Having a slasher is going to be important to help break the zone.
I was extremely impressed with the Illini against Northwestern. We were constantly moving with the ball and passing it around well. This movement is going to be key against Purdue. If we just take the same game plan that we implemented against the Wildcats and use it against the Boilermakers, I think we will be fine.