5. Will Illinois limit the “others” from going off?
I don’t mean to mention Zach Edey in nearly every slide, but when you have the best player in college basketball, he is going to be the center of attention.
Edey, as mentioned earlier, is going to get his own. He is someone who only scores under 20 points because Purdue is blowing out the opponent. Seriously, five times this season Edey has failed to score 20 points and the Boilermakers won those games by an average of 37.2 points.
So, Edey is extremely tough to stop. But that leaves me to wonder, while Edey gets his own, can Illinois stop the “others” from going off?
The “others” are mainly the Purdue guards. Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, and Lance Jones have been the backbone of the Boilermakers’ backcourt. Each player is averaging over 10 points per game and they like to shoot from three-point range.
Edey is likely going to get his 20 or more points, but limiting these three guards will be key in Illinois coming away with a win.
I think the Illini length on the perimeter is going to give the Purdue guards some trouble. Every Illinois starter is 6-foot-6 or taller. The only main player for the Illini who is sub-6-foot-6 is Justin Harmon, who is 6-foot-4.
As long as Illinois works through screens and rotates, I think we should be okay. This is going to be the toughest test of the season for the Illini defense, but it is a test I think we are prepared for on Friday night.