4. Illinois wasn’t ready in the first half
When you don’t start a game off well, things can kind of snowball quickly. This leads to bad plays and the score getting out of hand early on. That is what happened with Illinois.
The Illini didn’t look ready to play in the first half against Purdue. We started the game as if we were playing in molasses and Purdue was on an ice rink.
Every facet of the game was going wrong for Illinois. We weren't quickly closing out on Purdue’s three-point shooters, allowing them to knock down some big shots. It was also like Illinois was shocked to see a 7-foot-4, 300-pound big man in the paint for the Boilermakers. Nearly everyone for the Illini has played against Zach Edey, but they seemed jarred to see him in the middle.
Before the five-minute mark in the first half, Illinois had already dug into a 10-point hole. That 10-point hole turned into 15 by halftime. I would say I was most disturbed by Illinois’ defense or lack thereof.
Purdue shot 70% from three-point range and knocked down 12-of-15 free throws in the first half. When you allow a team to shoot that well and get to the charity stripe that often, things aren’t going to go your way.
Clearly, Illinois wasn’t ready for Purdue to go into Edey and then for him to dish it back out for a three-point attempt. We looked like an unprepared program. I will give the coaching staff credit, though. Illinois made adjustments at halftime and was the better team in the second half. But if we could have been ready in the first 20 minutes, this game could have gone in our favor.