Illini Basketball 2019-2020

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Maybe this is too much of the kool-aid but when I look at BIG rosters there aren’t any I want to trade. Sure there are specific players I would like to have but our only balance problem is depth at the 4 now. And Kipper playing like he is now compares ok to other teams depth and we have some potential on the bench. We don’t have the best player at any position (except maybe Kofi) but we have a skilled player at every position. Team has the potential to win the BIG imo.
I casually watched the OSU Minn game. Idk if its fair to judge OSU on the only game they lost, but I was not that impressed. They’re obviously a good team, and more polished than the Illini, but if they’re the team to beat in the B10 ten this year I think it isn’t crazy to have Illini as a contender for the B10 championship.
 
I casually watched the OSU Minn game. Idk if its fair to judge OSU on the only game they lost, but I was not that impressed. They’re obviously a good team, and more polished than the Illini, but if they’re the team to beat in the B10 ten this year I think it isn’t crazy to have Illini as a contender for the B10 championship.
Great thing about college hoops in general this year, there are no great teams. Loads of good teams, but I can't think of a single team that we can't beat. Parity to the max!!
 
I casually watched the OSU Minn game. Idk if its fair to judge OSU on the only game they lost, but I was not that impressed. They’re obviously a good team, and more polished than the Illini, but if they’re the team to beat in the B10 ten this year I think it isn’t crazy to have Illini as a contender for the B10 championship.
Scary stat is +41% as a team from 3 pt. Couple guys 50%.
 
things are not likely to change enough that the Illini will lack opportunities for major resume boosting wins as the season progresses.
This year in particular will be different imo, with the parity that exists at an all time high, and the B1G clearly the dominant conference now and by years end...the ILLINI get in and possibly others as more weight will be placed on the conference overall play vs possibly resume ### as in the past.
 
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Honestly, my expectations fo this year are shot. Maybe we’ll put things together and toy with dancing, or maybe we’ll just keep yo-yo-ing our way to a mediocre finish and maybe get to the NIT. I know I will continue to be sucked in, even though Lucy has pulled the football away far too many times for me to not see it coming.
 
This year in particular will be different imo, with the parity that exists at an all time high, and the B1G clearly the dominant conference now and by years end...the ILLINI get in and possibly others as more weight will be placed on the conference overall play vs possibly resume ### as in the past.
Uh now that I ran out of Kool-Aid...no this will not happen
 
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This kid is certainly one to watch for upside and growth. The thing that makes me wonder is BU wants an offense that is positionless, and although I commend him for trying to be a flexible coach with his offense now that he has a true big man in Kofi, it certainly presents other issues in regards to the rest of the roster makeup now and moving forward.

Kofi is to good to pass on, however, it now stymies Giorgi, if Kouma or another similiar to Ebube comes along, they are more interior players with little upside for out of the post, again, Giorgi is in no mans land, at least the one that he is the most comfortable in.

Moving forward, should the staff now focus on more like Hawkins and less on the likes of Kouma or a big like Edube?
I guess it really depends on how you play it...

Giorgi should be coming off the bench this year in this system imo, which would give Kofi more space to avoid double teams when you can pair Kofi with a Kipper or a true 4 man like Hawkins with size, length, and shooting touch. That else deepens your roster and rotations because now when Kofi goes out of the game, Giorgi comes in and tou do not lose that true post presence.

Of course they are going to have to be on the floor together at some point in the game because they're just too good...

But in my opinion, pairing Kofi (or any true dominant post player) with a Hawkins type (true stretch 4) would be the ideal situation for me where it strengthens your roster and system all the way around by creating depth and adding more free movement and spacing of the floor for players like Ayo, Trent, and AG to shoot or attack the rim.

Giorgi's passing is what makes him elite in my mind, which is what makes it so hard to keep him off the floor and is why I believe BU hasn't switched the starting lineups around, as if yet...

But un-clogging the lane and getting a quicker, more versatile 4 out there would do so much to the flow of this offensive! Add on to that, a 3 man that isn't one dimensional or an offensive liability, and that combination could open this offense back up to being able to put up 80(+) against high level competition!

You have to consider doing that at some point and I hope Brad does even if it weakens our defense. Because at the end of the day, you have to score more points than the other team in-order to win the game. 😉

Merry Christmas everyone!! 🎄
 
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I guess it really depends on how you play it...

Giorgi should be coming off the bench this year in this system imo, which would give Kofi more space to avoid double teams when you can pair Kofi with a Kipper or a true 4 man like Hawkins with size, length, and shooting touch. That else deepens your roster and rotations because now when Kofi goes out of the game, Giorgi comes in and tou do not lose that true post presence.

Of course they are going to have to be on the floor together at some point in the game because they're just too good...

But in my opinion, pairing Kofi (or any true dominant post player) with a Hawkins type (true stretch 4) would be the ideal situation for me where it strengthens your roster and system all the way around by creating depth and adding more free movement and spacing of the floor for players like Ayo, Trent, and AG to shoot or attack the rim.

Giorgi's passing is what makes him elite in my mind, which is what makes it so hard to keep him off the floor and is why I believe BU hasn't switched the starting lineups around, as if yet...

But un-clogging the lane and getting a quicker, more versatile 4 out there would do so much to the flow of this offensive! Add on to that, a 3 man that isn't one dimensional or an offensive liability, and that combination could open this offense back up to being able to put up 80(+) against high level competition!

You have to consider doing that at some point and I hope Brad does even if it weakens our defense. Because at the end of the day, you have to score more points than the other team in-order to win the game. 😉

Merry Christmas everyone!! 🎄
One thing we have lost with Giorgi and Kofi out there together is prime spread spacing because they’re so dominant near the basket.

In my opinion from running spread, the first cutter screen (with a blazing fast cut) is the single most important part of the offense. It forces the defense to back off the high post and defend the rim or leave a layup.

But because we have these two dominant forces around the rim, and we look to get them the ball in early offense near the rim (obviously), it takes the screener away from the high post.

To run the offense with the same timing, the first cutter has to cut before the big returns to the high post to set the screen, but without the screen no real pressure is put on the defense to adjust, and then they just kind of collapse the paint because we can’t shoot. It also limits our counter game because we don’t run much actual spread, so we have nothing to counter.
 
Forgottonia
One thing we have lost with Giorgi and Kofi out there together is prime spread spacing because they’re so dominant near the basket.

In my opinion from running spread, the first cutter screen (with a blazing fast cut) is the single most important part of the offense. It forces the defense to back off the high post and defend the rim or leave a layup.

But because we have these two dominant forces around the rim, and we look to get them the ball in early offense near the rim (obviously), it takes the screener away from the high post.

To run the offense with the same timing, the first cutter has to cut before the big returns to the high post to set the screen, but without the screen no real pressure is put on the defense to adjust, and then they just kind of collapse the paint because we can’t shoot. It also limits our counter game because we don’t run much actual spread, so we have nothing to counter.
I dont think I have seen anyone since Dee and Luther that cuts at a full sprint. May just be why they are almost never open.
 
I dont think I have seen anyone since Dee and Luther that cuts at a full sprint. May just be why they are almost never open.
Kip has actually been fairly decent at it. Hence he has caught some alleys on that first cutter action
 
On paper Illini are still fine. Indiana for example is is 9-0 vs Q3-4, while Illini are 6-0. Indiana looks better at 11-1 than 6-4, and they are, but both teams are realistically in the same spot on the bubble. Indiana has 1 meaningful win against FSU, and Illini against Michigan.

Point being it comes down to B10 play for both teams. The extra 3 Q4 wins Indiana has won’t matter much (and may hurt them) when it comes down to selection time. Illini need to figure out how to win with the talent they have against B10.
 
Kip has actually been fairly decent at it. Hence he has caught some alleys on that first cutter action
FiveStar - can you comment from a coaching perspective? The spread / cutting is literally what BU's offense is known for. How in the world is he accepting the type of 'cutting' that even a casual basketball fan can see is completely ineffective? I understand your point on the 2 bigs, etc., but this was a similar problem last year too. BU can't make shots for them, but at the very least he should be demanding 100% effort on the linchpin of his offensive scheme, no? I would think aggression on cuts and aggressive passes on cuts would be Day 1 to everyday emphasis in practice. Why is he tolerating what we're all seeing? It's just dumbfounding.
 
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Honestly, my expectations fo this year are shot. Maybe we’ll put things together and toy with dancing, or maybe we’ll just keep yo-yo-ing our way to a mediocre finish and maybe get to the NIT. I know I will continue to be sucked in, even though Lucy has pulled the football away far too many times for me to not see it coming.
Well said. Haven't seen much hunger from the team overall, and as soon as they start to look good, they take a half off. That's not a formula for making the dance in the BIG unless you're uber talented. Way too many stretches where we play flat. Not sure that's fixable.

We fooled ourselves into thinking our guard play was better than most, but it's weak. We're shooting poorly from 3 and turning it over, which means that any team in the conference that bothers to scout us will know what to do defensively. When we're frustrated, we're capable of digging pretty deep holes.

I fully expect we'll have a couple games like Michigan where we play like a solid tournament team. Unfortunately, the resume is filling up with crummy performances too, and the post-game is full of excuses. I don't think we'd even get bubble consideration as of today. You want to be average, go play some where else --I'd love to see more fire and brimstone from Underwood given the state of things.

AZ and MD losses are not a concern --those are upper level teams, as is Michigan, so 1 out of 3 is fine. The way we played against Miami and Mizzou? Eek. That's a team that wants to sit around when everyone else is dancing. We had a week to prepare for Mizzou.

I'm really disappointed for the fans. Not a lot to celebrate. I can appreciate that it's hard to walk that line where you're giving guys guys confidence while starving them enough to keep them hungry and focused, but this coaching staff just hasn't found the secret sauce in going on 3 seasons, and that's alarming and disheartening. This is Underwood's team, like it or not.
 
FiveStar - can you comment from a coaching perspective? The spread / cutting is literally what BU's offense is known for. How in the world is he accepting the type of 'cutting' that even a casual basketball fan can see is completely ineffective? I understand your point on the 2 bigs, etc., but this was a similar problem last year too. BU can't make shots for them, but at the very least he should be demanding 100% effort on the linchpin of his offensive scheme, no? I would think aggression on cuts and aggressive passes on cuts would be Day 1 to everyday emphasis in practice. Why is he tolerating what we're all seeing? It's just dumbfounding.
I want to emphasize that these opinions are mine from running spread for 5+ years. Underwood is obviously light years ahead of me on spread understanding. I always felt like that first screen was the most important, I don’t know if he does. I know for a fact he emphasizes speed in the cuts. In his championship productions video his quote about the cuts is that they are an “assault on the front of the rim.”

Part of the problem might be that we don’t hit the cutters very often, so they’ve stopped cutting hard. Part of the reason that we haven’t hit the cutters might be because we’ve been so small, and throwing lobs to little guys or hitting them for a postup doesn’t always make sense in terms of getting the best shot. We also had giorgi rockin it from the high post last year, so getting him the ball there was probably an emphasis.

As far as why he’s tolerating poor effort, hard to say. Sometimes 70 percent from your best guys still gives you a better chance to win than 100% from others. People don’t always want to hear that, and obviously thats not what you want, but if it’s what’s you got it’s what you got. That is less likely the case in college where you hand pick your roster to an extent, but still possible. Also politically, you can’t bench certain guys, change certain roles, etc if you want to keep bringing in talent from certain pipelines.
 
Well said. Haven't seen much hunger from the team overall, and as soon as they start to look good, they take a half off. That's not a formula for making the dance in the BIG unless you're uber talented. Way too many stretches where we play flat. Not sure that's fixable.

We fooled ourselves into thinking our guard play was better than most, but it's weak. We're shooting poorly from 3 and turning it over, which means that any team in the conference that bothers to scout us will know what to do defensively. When we're frustrated, we're capable of digging pretty deep holes.

I fully expect we'll have a couple games like Michigan where we play like a solid tournament team. Unfortunately, the resume is filling up with crummy performances too, and the post-game is full of excuses. I don't think we'd even get bubble consideration as of today. You want to be average, go play some where else --I'd love to see more fire and brimstone from Underwood given the state of things.

AZ and MD losses are not a concern --those are upper level teams, as is Michigan, so 1 out of 3 is fine. The way we played against Miami and Mizzou? Eek. That's a team that wants to sit around when everyone else is dancing. We had a week to prepare for Mizzou.

I'm really disappointed for the fans. Not a lot to celebrate. I can appreciate that it's hard to walk that line where you're giving guys guys confidence while starving them enough to keep them hungry and focused, but this coaching staff just hasn't found the secret sauce in going on 3 seasons, and that's alarming and disheartening. This is Underwood's team, like it or not.
I would agree this team does not seem to get the energy and toughness needed to win game in and game out. The 1st half against Miami, was a show case for that. They obviously thought all they had to do against lowly, Miami, was show up. "L". Playing with your "hair on fire" as Underwood put it after the MO game is a skill that has to be learned. The players are NOT
 
Goofed. The players are NOT going to come out and play like that just because they should all realize that's what is needed to win. They are no more going to play like that without preparation and practice than they'll run the offense or defense correctly. Underwood, said he noticed the team didn't have the energy or combatant spirit he wanted during the practices before, MO. He hoped it would change. Like it or not the coach has a big role in the teams mental preparation before a game. Hoping the team will flip the switch without him is short sighted concerning his role in that. Their are many ways a coach can foster the "hair on fire" play he wants out of the team for 40, which are more than i want to write.
Underwood, mentioned there are some things they could change at practice, like turnovers. I've been waiting all year.
 
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I guess it really depends on how you play it...

Giorgi should be coming off the bench this year in this system imo, which would give Kofi more space to avoid double teams when you can pair Kofi with a Kipper or a true 4 man like Hawkins with size, length, and shooting touch. That else deepens your roster and rotations because now when Kofi goes out of the game, Giorgi comes in and tou do not lose that true post presence.

Of course they are going to have to be on the floor together at some point in the game because they're just too good...

But in my opinion, pairing Kofi (or any true dominant post player) with a Hawkins type (true stretch 4) would be the ideal situation for me where it strengthens your roster and system all the way around by creating depth and adding more free movement and spacing of the floor for players like Ayo, Trent, and AG to shoot or attack the rim.

Giorgi's passing is what makes him elite in my mind, which is what makes it so hard to keep him off the floor and is why I believe BU hasn't switched the starting lineups around, as if yet...

But un-clogging the lane and getting a quicker, more versatile 4 out there would do so much to the flow of this offensive! Add on to that, a 3 man that isn't one dimensional or an offensive liability, and that combination could open this offense back up to being able to put up 80(+) against high level competition!

You have to consider doing that at some point and I hope Brad does even if it weakens our defense. Because at the end of the day, you have to score more points than the other team in-order to win the game. 😉

Merry Christmas everyone!! 🎄
Taking Giorgi out weakens our rebounding and the loss of Giorgi's passing skills also weakens the offense. It's not like Kipper is a great outside shooter. Hawkins could help this issue, but obviously not until next year. You say you want to help Kofi but you're taking out the by far best post passer we have, so you hurt Kofi in the same breath.

Merry Christmas to you too QC (I grew up in Moline myself).
 
Illinois basketball was supposed to get me through this terrible winter of Chicago/Illinois sports. But here when I am depressed about the Bears, angry about the Cubs, and am trying my best to forget that the Bulls and Blackhawks exist, I know I am not going to see consistently better play out of Illinois than we got in the Miami, Maryland, and Mizzou games.

To get back out of the doldrums, I really think we need 2 wins out of MSU, Purdue, and Wisconsin. That's of course followed by 2 must wins against Rutgers (oh boy) and Northwestern. If we can't get that, I don't see how we can put together a tourney resume.

But as of now, I don't see how we are going to play any different than what we've seen so far this season. Inconsistency and no hunger to take over games.
 
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