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tBBC tBBC Pregame Glance: Illinois Fighting Illini

Discussion in 'News' started by Ken, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. Ken

    Ken Guest

    tBBC Pregame Glance: Illinois Fighting Illini
    Ken
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


    [​IMG]
    Coach Groce with some pre-game charades.

    (Image Courtesy of cleveland.com)

    Ohio State (13-8, 5-3) hits the road for a Thursday game in Champaign, IL against the Illinois Fighting Illini (10-10). Thad Matta’s Buckeyes are coming off a win that halted a 2 game skid, as are John Groce’s Illini. Ohio State won the first meeting of the season, 75-73 in Columbus, so no doubt Illinois is looking to return the favor.

    Let’s start by taking a look at some team comparisons.

    PPG-O PPG-D RPG FG% 3PT% FT% APG TO/G
    Ohio State 71 66 38.7 45.0% 34.2% 65.7% 12.5 13.4
    Illinois 74 76 32.2 43.9% 36.1% 73.0% 14.3 10.2



    So, what do we have? At first glance, both teams are pretty ‘meh’ on offense, but Illinois is pretty bad on defense. Or at least not nearly as good as Ohio State. Ohio State is the better rebounding team, so that helps control game tempo. Illinois is the better FT shooting team (no surprise) so let’s hope it doesn’t come down to that. Additionally, Illinois takes better care of the ball than Ohio State, so if this game is close coming down the stretch, advantage goes to Illinois.

    Illinois

    The Hoosiers bring a mix of experience to the court. They (likely) will start 1 senior (Ferrell) and 2 juniors (Williams, Hartman) against Ohio State. The significant gap in their lineup is the absence of sophomore James Blackmon, Jr. The 6’4″ guard has been lost to the season due to a recent knee injury. Last season, Blackmon averaged 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

    Here are the Fighting Illini, likely starter in bold:

    Nbr Name Pos MPG FG% 3PT% FT% RPG APG PPG
    21 Hill, Malcolm G 34.5 44.9% 32.9% 81.8% 5.9 3.4 18.7
    25
    Nunn, Kendrick G 34.4 45.3% 40.2% 81.1% 5.4 1.9 17.5
    43
    Finke, Michael F 22.9 49.6% 39.7% 74.2% 4.1 1.4 9.4
    5
    Coleman-Lands, Jalen G 23.4 39.2% 40.7% 69.2% 1.7 0.9 8.9
    1
    Tate, Jaylon G 20.9 44.4% 16.7% 52.9% 1.4 3.1 2.6
    33 Thorne Jr., Mike F 21.4 47.3% 0.0% 60.0% 8.5 0.3 12.9
    22 Morgan, Maverick C 14.8 57.9% 0.0% 73.7% 2.2 0.5 6.2
    12 Black, Leron F 14.3 41.7% 0.0% 50.0% 4.4 0.6 4.4
    23 Jordan, Aaron G 13.7 33.3% 34.7% 82.6% 0.9 0.7 4.3
    3 Lewis, Khalid G 21.6 36.8% 23.1% 61.9% 1.6 2.8 3.7
    44 Austin, Alex G 12.3 31.4% 20.8% 63.6% 1.7 0.9 1.8
    0 Williams, D.J. G 9.3 25.0% 0.0% 53.8% 1.2 0.2 1.3
    45 Liss, Cameron F 2.5 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0 0.5 0



    Illinois will continue to lean on the 6’6″ guard Malcolm Hill 6’3″ guard Kendrick Nunn to power the offense. Forward Mike Thorne, Jr. sees significant playing time (21 mpg) and contributes a team high 8.5 rebounds per game and 12.9 ppg. At 6’11” 270 lbs, he is a load at low post. He’d be comparable to Purdue’s Twin Towers (Hammons/Haas) in terms of size, and maybe capability.

    Kendrick Nunn will be a challenge to OSU’s perimeter defense. He takes 10 shots per game, half of them from 3-point range. He hits the bombs at a 40% clip. Jalen Coleman-Lands, a 6’3″ guard shoot most (5 of 7 per game) of his FGs from long range and also makes 40% of them. Illinois will not be nearly as inept at 3-point shooting as PSU was.

    Ohio State

    As expected with a young, inexperienced team, Ohio State has been a bit “streaky” this season. Let’s look at the last two games. Against Purdue, Kieta was a no-show, while Kam was “instant offense”. Against PSU, Kieta carried the team while Kam couldn’t buy a basket. Thad continues to be tinkering with the starting lineup, as well as in-game rotations and continues to teach his team.

    And, for the Buckeyes, likely starters, maybe, in bold:

    Nbr Player Pos MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
    2 Marc Loving F 33.2 42.1% 32.6% 75.0% 5.4 1.5 13.6
    33
    Kieta Bates-Diop F 30.4 45.8% 36.3% 81.0% 5.9 1.5 11.9
    1
    Jae’Sean Tate F 28.1 51.9% 33.3% 51.5% 6.3 1.4 11.1
    13
    JaQuan Lyle G 28.3 39.3% 26.5% 62.5% 4.0 4.9 9.9
    32
    Trevor Thompson C 16.8 51.1% 0.0% 78.3% 5.1 0.2 6.0
    15 Kam Williams G 19.6 48.4% 47.7% 76.9% 1.7 1.0 7.7
    4 Daniel Giddens C 18.7 48.6% 0.0% 40.5% 4.0 0.4 4.4
    0 Mickey Mitchell F 9.1 38.5% 0.0% 50.0% 2.6 0.1 1.7
    10 David Bell F 6.9 54.5% 0.0% 63.6% 2.0 0.1 1.7
    12 A.J. Harris G 13.0 35.2% 29.6% 65.2% 1.1 1.7 2.9
    14 Joey Lane G 1.6 14.3% 14.3% 50.0% 0.0 0.0 0.6

    There isn’t much I can tell you that, if you’ve been following this team, you don’t already know. JaQuan Lyle and A.J. Harris may be alternating roles, same with Daniel Giddens and Trevor Thompson. Mickey Mitchell is starting to see more playing time. It’s fun to see Kam Williams check into the game. If he has his shooting stroke, just get him the ball and stand back and admire the results.

    Although Ohio State appears to have a size advantage at the #3/#4 positions, the Illinois guards are bigger and more experienced. The other “experience” concern is in the front court, where graduate student Mike Thorne, Jr. faces off against frosh/soph Giddens/Thompson. With Giddens’ tendency to be foul-prone this season, Ohio State needs a big game from Trevor Thompson.

    Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 PM ET. The game will be televised on BTN (check local listings), can be followed on Gametracker and heard on 97.1.

    The post tBBC Pregame Glance: Illinois Fighting Illini appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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