Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, for those that enjoy my posts.
Some overall thoughts:
In the Bahamas, I thought the team recovered nicely from the loss to UConn, and that continued with a solid road win over NC State. Obviously, though, things completely fell apart against SMU. So, what are the issues?
Not having Walton is a big deal. MAAR did a nice job driving to the hoop for baskets, but he’s not great at initiating the offense, and when he drives, he mainly drives to score, not find open shooters. He played 37 minutes the other night without an assist.
Irvin’s poor shooting is really hurting us. The effectiveness of our offense often depends on passing the ball around the perimeter until we find an open shooter, as the other team rotates to try and cover open guys. When that extra pass has gone to Irvin, he simply can’t knock down the open look. He’s been good at other facets of the game (9 assists the other night, for example), but his shooting is really hurting us. MAAR, too, missed a few wide open threes against SMU that Walton probably knocks down.
Obviously, defense and rebounding are major concerns. We’ve never been particularly good at either with JB coaching, but the effort level the other night was really poor. If we are going to make the NCAA tourney, and have a decent record in the Big Ten, we have to clean up those areas quickly.
I feel like the Duncan Robinson debate can’t really be a debate anymore, right? He’s never going to be a great defender, but the kid can shoot the lights out and I think the other areas of his game (putting it on the floor, and passing) are better than anyone anticipated. All the consternation about offering him, and not offering Jalen Coleman once Robinson committed, seems very misplaced.
As far as the bigs, I love Wagner’s potential (another offer people questioned at the time), but clearly he’s going to have some up and down games. Still, he’s got next level ability IMO. I’ve been disappointed with Doyle, who seems to have regressed, and Donnal just isn’t special. I think it’s too early to write off Wilson, who has shown some signs here and there, but he’s probably not ready to really contribute for another year, unless Doyle continues to get worse and JB sits him.
Right now, I’m at 10-3 nonconference, 11-7 in conference, with us landing around a 6-7 seed at 21-10. Let’s see how it plays out.
Towns had plenty of opportunity to go to Michigan. Harvard was a special situation for him IMO. Great kid and I like his game, but the way Ibi Watson is playing this year he could end of a similar level of prospect.
It’s settled. Duncan Robinson is better than Jalen Coleman because of cherry picked stats after 10 games. Haha. My god the fan base is in denial. Jalen is fresh off an ankle injury on a complete dumpster fire of a team. He’s also playing out of position because Illinois is down 3 starters. Jalen’s athleticism is something this team is in desperate need of.
And good for Eric Davis. Like I’ve always said, I wish him well. I saw him play twice and he struggled mightily. Just like I bet NBA scouts moved Caris way down their list after watching him in person for one game. strong text
Any chance for this team to make the tourney this year is solely predicated on hitting 3s consistently, IMO. They just don’t have the personnel to compete on the glass, or stop dribble penetration. Glaring shortcomings that are very unlikely to change throughout this season. I will be very very surprised to see this team get 11 conference wins, because shooting comes and goes and we have no other team assets to stay in the game when we’re cold. Can’t stop anyone, can’t rebound, and have very limited opportunities to get to the rim with any consistency. As of this date ( assuming 4 straight cupcake wins ) it’s hard for me to see us going any better than .500 in league play, even with our “supposed” easier B1G schedule this year. Until the core philosophy changes regarding recruiting ( more athletes with strength and toughness ) this program is forever limited to winning with the 3 ball under JBs tenure. Not an easy task.
Great question and I think that is the root of problems we had last year and this year. You simply can’t miss on almost everyone of our top targets three years in a row and not have it really hurt you.
My view - “any chance for this team to make the tourney rests on…” 1. health of Zak/Derrick/Spike which hopefully resolves itself to something at least average by B1G play and “the threes will fall” if these guys are healthy, and 2. Much better basic fundamental rebounding and defensive decision making. You can blame talent, but dozens of mid major and lower schools teach much better technique for rebounding that we do. JMo was probably the only big we’ve had who really focused on this (besides Novak if you count him), but it can be much better for even our team with focus, lack ok athletic bigs not withstanding.
10-6/11-7… i can see it. efforts like Tuesday can’t be seen again. the result was troubling, the effort was worse. 13 Off Rebs on 23 misses…
Is Duncan Robinson better than Trevon Bluiett? I see Xavier play and he looks like a guy that would definitely be a missing piece. He can get to the hole, hit the outside shot, plays good D, can rebound.
LMAO I live in champaign il and have seen every one of Illinois game. You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Jcl does absolutely nothing on the basketball court besides shoot, and not that well at that. Stop saying ridiculous things that have zero truth in them. He is 6’3 and has only seen minutes at sg. What in the works are you even saying? Duncan could blow by him off the dribble every single time. Stop talking.
If you take away the last two games, as I’m told Jalen re-aggravated his ankle injury recently in practice and hasn’t been near 100% all season, Jalen is averaging 9pts a game. Shooting 41% from the floor. 44% from 3. I encourage you to go look at his game logs. Much like Walton last year, he’s not near where his ceiling is.
But stats tell the whole story, always, right? We need athleticism on this team in a major way. Going forward, I can only hope that JB and this staff, if they have a chance to land a player with JCL’s skill-set, they go after him hard. If it comes down to an athletic wing or just a shooter, PLEASE go after the athletic wing.
I’ll also add, I’ve been told it’s toxic right now in the locker room at Illinois and Groce is hanging on by a thread. It may not be long before he’s axed.
This like many of your post come of as emotional and not well thought. You criticize Coach Beilein for recruiting by bringing up Groce and a dysfunctional Illinois team, all in the name to prop up an athletic wing who might be of value some time after his ankle heals. Weird stuff.
Blueitt is better, much better. Mind you, Robinson wouldn’t be the first guy I’d trade for him, but yeah, Blueitt was a big miss (along with Booker and Looney in the 2014 class) and I would have supported rolling out the red carpet for him after his decommit from UCLA, no questions asked.
What skill set is jcl? Shoot a lot of shots and don’t make many? Don’t pass or rebound or play defense. Dude is lost. Aaron Jordan is better at this point. Again, I’ve seen every game. Jcl is small for a sg too. He won’t match what Dawkins did last year either