I hoped I didn’t have to write down one in every of these articles, however the Illinois basketball season is formally over with after dropping to Loyola-Chicago.
It was a wrestle from the tip. Illinois didn’t appear to be within the sport via its entirety. We might get the rating inside six factors a few occasions, however that’s the closest we’d come to overtaking the Ramblers. The Illini would find yourself dropping the sport 71-58.
Listed here are 4 observations from the Illini loss to Loyola-Chicago.
1. Illinois Basketball: Guards struggled
Going into what ended up being the final sport of the season, Illinois wanted their guard play to step up and have an enormous day. Sadly, that didn’t occur.
The Illinois guards had what was arguably their worst sport of the season on the worst time attainable. Ayo Dosunmu completed the sport with 9 factors, 2 rebounds and a pair of assists whereas taking pictures 4-of-10 from the sector. His level manufacturing wasn’t excessive, and he had six turnovers to cap every thing off.
Ayo wasn’t the one guard who had a tricky time preventing off Loyola-Chicago. Jacob Grandison struggled in his 16 minutes of motion. He solely shot the ball one time and completed with a stat line of three factors, 4 rebounds and three turnovers.
Senior chief Trent Frazier may need had his worse sport as a member of the Illini. He went 1-of-10 from the sector and 0-of-5 from three-point vary. Frazier ended the sport towards the Ramblers with 2 factors, 4 assists and 4 fouls.
Total, many of the Illinois guards had a tough sport. Tough video games occur. It simply was a horrific time to have a tough sport. The long run continues to be brilliant with this program, however for at some point in March, Illinois’ guards simply didn’t have it.
2. Andre Curbelo is clearly the long run
It was a tricky loss that nobody needs to ever bear in mind. I can’t wait to get this sport as far prior to now as attainable. I can also’t look forward to the long run. The star is shining so brilliant for Andre Curbelo and the Illini.
Curbelo appeared like one of many few gamers to have any power towards Loyola-Chicago on Sunday. He was precisely what the Illini wanted, and I consider he was one of many causes we didn’t lose that sport by 20 factors or extra.
The star freshman got here off the bench for the Illini and completed with 9 factors, 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 1 steal. Whereas he did have 4 turnovers on the day, Curbelo nonetheless had an excellent sport. He was 4-of-5 from the sector as properly.
In postseason play alone, which incorporates the Massive Ten Match and the NCAA match, Curbelo averaged 10.4 factors, 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per sport. These are numbers that I search for from a seasoned starter, not to mention somebody who’s in his freshman marketing campaign.
I believe each Illinois fan can agree, Curbelo has an amazing future developing. This child has proven why he was a prime 50 recruit nationally. His skill to kickstart the group and assist rally the troops is one thing I haven’t seen in a very long time. Curbelo is just not solely an awesome basketball participant, however he’s a legendary chief of males.
3. We couldn’t cease the Ramblers’ offensive sport plan
Historically, Princeton is thought for his or her backdoor cuts and their fundamentals on the basketball court docket. I consider Loyola-Chicago is every thing Princeton is thought for, plus they’ve nice basketball gamers.
The sport plan the Ramblers got here in with on Sunday was unbelievable. Illinois was not able to tackle this robust of a mid-major program. Not solely have been the Illini not ready for one of these sport plan, however Loyola-Chicago executed flawlessly.
The Ramblers introduced up a number of gamers on totally different ranges of screens. The Illinois guard would get screened towards the highest of the important thing by the a number of massive males, and one of many massive males would roll down into the paint the place Kofi Cockburn wasn’t certain if he ought to assistance on the guard or defend the massive man. This often left Kofi in no man’s land and would end in a straightforward bucket.
Loyola-Chicago’s display sport was sensible. I bear in mind on a number of events the place they’d deliver the ball into the paint and their massive males would arrange a wall for his or her three-point shooter. Their massive males would dump the ball off to the guard coming round their display, and he would have a wide-open three-point try on the prime of the important thing.
I imply, there are such a lot of situations the place I believed to myself, wow, Porter Moser is de facto good at his job. This Ramblers program is amazingly disciplined and amazingly coached. This was a sport the place I consider Illinois was far out-coached your complete day.
4. Illinois Basketball: Let’s get excited approximately Adam Miller
I discussed within the second slide how Andre Curbelo is clearly the way forward for the Illinois basketball program. He’s going to be particular, however he isn’t the one one Illini followers ought to be excited approximately. Let’s begin getting excited approximately Adam Miller.
Miller had some critical struggles earlier within the season. Halfway via the Massive Ten slate, the child was being questioned approximately how good he actually is on the court docket. There was a stretch of three video games in there the place he had a complete of 10 factors, 4 rebounds and a pair of assists whereas coughing the ball up on 4 totally different events.
Slowly however absolutely, the maturation of Miller began to occur. He wanted these tough video games so he might be taught what’s incorrect along with his sport. That is all part of his improvement. He rapidly discovered what he wanted to do and has been correcting issues since.
Like Curbelo, Miller additionally performed properly throughout the postseason, which included the Massive Ten Match and NCAA match. He was wanted in each occasions, and Miller rose to the problem.
Miller completed postseason play averaging 9 factors, 3 rebounds and 1.4 assists. On prime of that, he solely had 4 whole turnovers throughout the five-game stretch whereas additionally taking pictures 48.5-percent from the sector and 37-percent from three-point vary. That’s extraordinarily environment friendly basketball throughout a vital time of the season.