Pregame: Illinois vs Michigan State, Tuesday, February 11th, 8:00pm CT, ESPN

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Well, we know Izzo has a disdain for playing zone defense but after the Maryland debacle, we know that our guys are very weak against a zone press, zone defense, and at shooting free throws. There are about 50000+ coaches across the country who can bring Underwood and his staff up to speed on how to attack the first two problems, and likely the third also. These kids have too much talent to not swat zone defenses away like a gnat...yet they looked like they had just seen the rise of Godzilla when Maryland showed a zone. Zone presses and zone defenses need fast ball movement, a determination to get the ball in to a good passer in the lane (Giorgi), good perimeter shooters (Trent, Ayo, and Griff) and a presence at the rim (Kofi). This team is perfect to attack the zone defense yet they were clueless....and that is on BU only. Trying to drive the ball against a zone defense is suicide as the ball moves many times faster and makes them work a bit rather than stare into your frightened eyes. Those eyes should be lit up with opportunity as open shot opportunities are presented in spades everywhere. Against Maryland, heck, against any zone, the Illini seldom attempt to get the ball into the paint which is ALWAYS open and the key. It makes the defense collapse leaving open shooters, Geogi one on one, or Kofi going to the rim. I expect Izzo to at least present a zone for a try and I hope to see some sort of plan for the Illini to move the ball quickly to beat it either in full court or half court......it isn't rocket science.
Illinois is 8th in FT shooting in the league at .727, so no, we are not bad at shooting FTs.
 
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Maybe so, but MSU basically never plays a zone.
would be a major shock if MSU busts out the zone. But they’re on a slide and need to do something to break out and zone works against us, so never say never.
 
I was really surprised how much trouble our team had with that press. And the basic zone defense exposed a huge problem. Our guys didn't really seem to have ideas on what to do, which honestly does point to a coaching issue. I mean there are standard plays to run against a press which our team didn't seem to have rehearsed and ready.
 
I was really surprised how much trouble our team had with that press. And the basic zone defense exposed a huge problem. Our guys didn't really seem to have ideas on what to do, which honestly does point to a coaching issue. I mean there are standard plays to run against a press which our team didn't seem to have rehearsed and ready.
A lot of the issue with the zone was not having trent out there. Ayo and Feliz not a true threat from deep.
 
I'm a little worried about the team and crowd being a little flat for tonight! So much emphasis was put into the maryland game and after the loss, it just feels a little deflated. I hope I'm wrong and we are fully ready to go tonight! Need this win!
 
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Tonight is truly "big boy basketball"...if we have any hope of being in the hunt in the last week of the season, this game has to be won. We have let a couple slip away and have Penn St and Rutgers next on the road...honestly a split in those 2 would be pretty good, although a loss to both is a real possibility. Mich St is there to be had, we have the size and strength to compete with MSU-unlike in past years-now we need to show that we belong in the conversation until the end, I love the fact that we are in the last stretch of one of the most competitive Big 10 seasons ever, and are still one of the Big Dogs. It has been a while. I will be there early with a 16 oz beer wearing my orange!
 
We need Trent to really understand his value to our team. When he picks up two fouls in the first 10 minutes of a game, our chances of winning drop significantly. He needs to be on the floor. He's that important.
I want TF to be aggressive and play smart. Dumb fouls hurt i agree. But when we have Dre coming in there is not a major issue if AG is on the floor too. We have to have shooters on the floor as much as possible. So i agree TF needs to be on the floor as much as possible but Dre is very capable and our team is solid with him out there but there needs to be a solid 3 point threat when Trent is on the bench.
 
“Both teams are fighting for second and third place in the Ten," "It’s going to be a dog fight with Michigan State. They’re a really good basketball team. We’ve got to come out, be locked in mentally and be ready for war." Trent Frazier

Defense. Defense. Defense. Rebel the Spartan Hordes.
 
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I want TF to be aggressive and play smart. Dumb fouls hurt i agree. But when we have Dre coming in there is not a major issue if AG is on the floor too. We have to have shooters on the floor as much as possible. So i agree TF needs to be on the floor as much as possible but Dre is very capable and our team is solid with him out there but there needs to be a solid 3 point threat when Trent is on the bench.
Unfortunately, it seems like Trent being more aggressively defensively has led to some ticky tack fouls in which bigs are not called for in the league. However, I know our D has been good, but I wish we would have thrown a zone against certain teams just to throw them off their game. For example, Maryland while having two good shooters in Smith or one of Wiggins/Cowan in the game, relied on pick and roll to set up all their shots when not in transition. On offense, we could have kept Kofi out there more. I also wish we tried to let Trent come back in at end of first half once they started zoning to go along with Alan. Against Maryland, Alan could have been a 4 due to size matchup too.

Against MSU, Kofi needs to be stronger this game. If Bingham is in there, he is not really a low post threat offensively. I would not mind when Kofi is in the game, to utilize Alan at the 4 as long as Damonte or Dre is in there for rebounding to provide spacing offensively (Alan provides the spacing at the 4) and takes one of their bigs away from the paint. If we had a lineup of Dre, Alan, Trent, and Ayo to go along with Kofi in limited dosages when only Bingham is out there, I feel we can make runs. Bingham only plays 10 minutes a game, but is mainly a shot blocker and length, while Alan is an excellent rebounder.

This is why if Kofi returns next year, I feel like we can be dangerous with our two guys redshirt due to transfer will help. If Grandison can shoot solid unlike Kipper, we can have size along with Alan to rebound while having an undersized 4. Hutcherson, Miller, and if he plays, Hawkins are known as shooters, teams won't be zoning as much. Kipper has been much better, but has really struggled with his shot, which is causing problems offensively at times.

Sorry for long rant.
 
Anybody know if Deron Williams will be at the game tonight? Saw on Facebook that he was on an official visit with his kid?
 
I'd say it's because they killed in East Lansing, probably the only B1G game where we did''t show up.
That was definitely the only game this conference season where I felt like we "didn't show up." At Maryland and vs. Maryland we showed up super early and decided to leave. :ROFLMAO: :(

I'm really looking for one thing specifically, tonight - how do we respond when the shots aren't falling? We have to be innovative and try to shake things up while not losing our composure. It's hard, but we have been pretty good at it since the new year. In the first half vs. Maryland (I was at the game ... so much fun until the end ... SFC is BACK!), we looked like a top ten team. Period. Then, we couldn't make a shot to save our lives and it clearly flustered us. By the time we regained our composure, Maryland was feeling on top of the world, and it was too little too late. If we hit a cold stretch tonight, how do the guys respond? This team is so tough and usually so good at defense and balanced that when we are hitting our shots, we look REALLY, really good. However, we aren't that great of a shooting team. So, I would like to see an effort a bit more like what we saw at Iowa. Yes, that was a loss, but we played so well until the final couple of minutes, and we stayed in that game by simply being a tough out. We need that mentality tonight vs. MSU. BOY, would it be nice to just take out our frustration in a comfortable, double digit win for a change, huh? :)

Michigan State 70
Illinois 74
 
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Well, it's not disastrous, but for a team that is hunting down a top four finish and a double-bye in the conference tourney, it's not particularly good either.
We are not a good free throw shooting team & havent been for years. We have gone from a horrible free throw shooting team to an average one. I have asked before, & never received an answer: Which one of our coaches is in charge of free throw shooting? If anyone knows please respond.
 
Hey guys, glad to be a new member. For me it comes down to this, you are at home as a top 25 team and are playing an MSU squad that just fell out of the rankings. You HAVE to win home games in the B10 if you want to have a chance every year to be at or near the top of the league. This is a game you need to win, not only because of the home court advantage but because we have a team that finally has more talent IMO than MSU for the first time in quite some time. It seemed like last Friday night the moment was too big. I hate saying that but I feel that most of us would agree that aside from that opening 7-8 minutes the rest of the game was poor execution, abysmal offense and not being able to handle the press and zone. Throughout the course of the long season I expect scoring droughts, but that first 8 or 9 minutes of the second half was hard to watch. We have to be able to get to the rim when we need a bucket and not try and shoot ourselves out of these slumps. Anways, need a win tonight vs what will be a hungry MSU team. Go Illini!
 
We are not a good free throw shooting team & havent been for years. We have gone from a horrible free throw shooting team to an average one. I have asked before, & never received an answer: Which one of our coaches is in charge of free throw shooting? If anyone knows please respond.
There isn't a specific coach in charge of free throw shooting but they do shoot free throws everyday in practice and a lot of times on their own before and after practice.
 
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The story of our success is pretty simple: Keep teams below 70, or beat them to it. We are .500 (5-5) when teams score 70 or more. We're 11-2 when holding teams below that. That's what I'll be focused on, our race to 70.
 
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Kofi and GB have to hold their own on both ends which did not happen last time. Don't have a good feeling about this game unless Illini defense is exceptional.
 
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