What to watch for: Illinois

  • 02/14/2018 7:50 am in

Indiana’s second matchup this season against Illinois tips later today and we’re taking a look at three things to watch for in the rematch in lieu of our traditional game preview.

The matchup with the Fighting Illini will be broadcast on BTN at 8:30 p.m. ET with Cory Provus and Shon Morris on the call:

· Can Indiana handle the Illinois pressure? One of the major themes in Indiana’s 73-71 loss to Illinois on Jan. 24 in Champaign was its inability to take care of the ball.

Illinois forced a turnover on 25 percent of Indiana’s possessions, the worst performance to-date for the Hoosiers in league play. Illinois turned 18 Indiana turnovers into 22 points.

While Illinois does do a better job than any other Big Ten team in terms of forcing turnovers (23.2 percent), the Fighting Illini still have one of the league’s worst defenses.

Big Ten opponents are shooting 60 percent on 2s against Illinois in conference play and the Illini are also the most foul prone team in the league. Indiana should have a decided advantage by getting the ball inside, but the Hoosiers have to avoid the turnover issues that plagued them at the State Farm Center.

· Free throws will loom large: Indiana had no problem getting to the line in Champaign, but knocking down free throws was a major problem.

The Hoosiers had a ridiculous 65.9 percent free throw rate (FTA/FGA) in the first meeting, but missed 13 free throws in the loss.

Unfortunately for Indiana, free throw shooting has been an area of regression rather than improvement. Through 14 Big Ten games, the Hoosiers are shooting a league worst 63.2 percent from the line. And when you take the entire season into account, Indiana is just 336th nationally in free throw percentage (64.8).

If the game is close late, keeping the ball in the hands of its strongest free throw shooters (Robert Johnson, Devonte Green and Josh Newkirk) will be crucial for the Hoosiers.

· How will Illinois respond following a drubbing against Penn State? After picking up home wins over Indiana and Rutgers, Illinois has dropped three straight.

The most recent setback was arguably the most demoralizing of the season as Penn State drubbed the Illini by 22 at the State Farm Center.

With a 12-14 record and little to play for besides pride, how will Illinois respond from their most recent loss?

The Illini, who are 0-7 in true road games this season, need strong performances out of Trent Frazier and Leron Black to win games. Frazier, who had 19 points in the first meeting in late January, is coming off one of his worst performance of the season. The freshman guard scored just six points on 2-of-11 shooting in the loss to the Fighting Illini. It was the first time since Jan. 6 that he didn’t score in double figures.

(Photo credit: Illinois Athletics)

Filed to:

  • IdahoHoosier

    Sources! Yay!

  • RonG

    Adam Zagoria on hoops&recruiting.Or try ZAGSBLOG

  • RonG

    Also read the tweets on this site

  • RonG

    To U also. Because u need help please read the tweets on this site. Enjoy the win tonight and hope someone bars the door at the Langford’s -no grudges Ron!

  • StudentHoosier

    What tweets? What site? What the ***k is going on here?!

  • Ivan Renko

    I think Devonte was effective at breaking the press last time against Illinois, 27 min and only 2 TOs, with one being that flukey dribble off his foot and the other being the desperation pass to JMo in the post at the end of the game. Pretty good coming from our primary ball-handler. Not a slight on JN, but he had 4 TOs in only 12 min of action.

    Point being, I expect Devonte to handle the pressure well tonight in AH and after already seeing this pressure before. I’m further encouraged by his strong play as of late.

    I’m expecting a solid win!

  • RonG

    I’m on a samsung s7 phone.If I go to the menu and tap 9 items appear ,one of which is iubb. That is where the tweets are. Hope this helps!

  • Kwang

    I just hope we don’t repeat history by giving them their first road win as we gave them their first win (at their home). But I expect an overwhelming performance from IU tonight.

  • IllinoisHoosier

    Their defense certainly hurt us last game especially 2nd half. Need to keep turnovers to a minimum and make foul shots. Should be ok.

  • Colt

    Illinois is not a very smart team IQ hoops wise. They are having a hard time playing well in the second half of games. Indiana should be focused and will get win #15.

  • kurk81

    Illinois fouls a lot. They’re not very good. That’s not gonna change tonight. We suck at hitting free throws – if that changes tonight we can win by 25. If we hit 50%, it’ll be a nail-biter. Simple game really – put the ball through the basket when you have the chance (they call ’em FREE for a reason) and more often than not you win.

  • Oldguyy

    Read my post again, as slowly as you need. There is no reference to full-court pressure.

  • Koko

    He can watch the game on his cell phone for goodness sakes….kids are always looking at their phones. Self won’t even know what he’s doing.

  • VOXAC30

    Problem is they beat us in the second half : (

  • VAHoosier

    Boy, that was awfully derogatory for no reason. Your reference to a “one-man press breaker,” a-la Yogi, certainly seemed to me to imply breaking a full-court press.

    In any event, my post was stands on its own as an observation about the game at IL. Certainly nothing about it warranted the snide response.

  • VOXAC30

    Kwang… Where does that picture on your profile come from? I have seen it before and cannot place it.

  • Colt

    We have a better PG now.

  • RonG

    Try doing some research on your own. U might learn something.Then u can apologize if U know how too!

  • yimyames

    I’m with Koko! Let’s keep the momentum!

  • sarge

    Man, that is where I know that from. Haven’t listened to King Crimson in a few years! I love that song from that album. I used to live with a friend of mine who really had a variety of music and he played them some. I had been wondering that same thing as vox. Speaking of, what’s your thumbnail vox?

  • Kwang

    I’m guessing his has something to do with Pink Floyd.

  • Kwang

    It is the album cover for King Crimson “Court of the Crimson King”.

    The Cream album covers just weren’t as good.

  • VOXAC30

    Totaly forgot about King Crimson had to listen to that song. The Wall best Album Cover Ever