Connect with us


Illinois Basketball Flips Braggin’ Rights Script



After an embarrassing 20 point loss to the Missouri Tigers in St. Louis last year, the Illinois Basketball team turned the tables with a 97-73 blowout this year. Illinois jumped all over the Tigers, with a double digit lead by the under 12 timeout. As any game with 97 points, there was a lot of good things going on. With just Farleigh Dickinson remaining before conference play, the Illini have put themselves in a great position for a high seed.

1. Blueprint

In the preview I mentioned how poor the Tigers were on the glass. That was the story all night. The Illini gobbled up 16 offensive rebounds on their way to 51 boards overall. The Illini didn’t come out the gate hot, but their rebounding allowed them to control the pace until their shooters found their range. Once the outside shots started to fall, it got ugly quickly. The Illini also did well to handle the Missouri pressure with just ten turnovers. Coleman Hawkins and Quincy Guerrier combined for eight threes, opening the lane for the Illini’s drivers. This was the vision for this Illinois squad, a balanced attack where it’s impossible to cover everyone, and the possession doesn’t end on a miss.

2. Rafter Watch

There’s not much more to be said about Terrence Shannon Jr. other than it’s time to start clearing out a spot in the rafters for 0. Shannon Jr. cruised to 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists two blocks and two steals. 17 of those points and nine rebounds came in the first half. In each of their high major games this year Shannon Jr. has eclipsed the 20 point mark and has gone over 30 in this game and against Florida Atlantic. It’s not just the production, however. Shannon Jr. is the tone setter on both ends of the floor, and his physical impact on every game is undeniable. He shot 16 free throws, proof of his ability to bull through defenders. That free throw line production allows him to produce even on nights where he doesn’t make shots. Between his leadership and production, it looks like a matter of time before he locks up a spot on the All-American first team and Illinois immortality.

3. Puzzle Pieces

Even with Shannon Jr. putting on a show, he wasn’t the only attraction. Guerrier had a career high 28 points to go with eight rebounds, continuing the hot streak started against Tennessee. Hawkins had 15 points and seven rebounds, and the offense flowed freely with him drawing defenders out of the paint. Even with an 0-7 night from deep, Domask played his part with ten points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Domask is a better shooter than he’s shown recently (especially off the catch). Once the threes go down this team will get even tougher to guard. When those three play well around Shannon Jr., this is a team that can go the distance against anyone in the country. It’s now up to them to take care of business in the Big Ten. The non-conference has been a definite success both in results and process. The Illini now sit eighth on KenPom, with a top 20 offense and defense. They should also be in the top ten for the first time since the 2021 season where they were a one seed on Selection Sunday.

Thank you for reading Armchair Illini. For more Illinois Athletics and Big Ten content from Armchair Illini, follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram For feedback, questions, concerns, or to apply for a writing position, please email our Publisher at Please use our Seatgeek code for 20$ off your purchase on ARMCHAIRILLINOIS. It is because of your support that we have become one of the fastest-growing Illinois media outlets around!

Brian is a former sports writer for the Daily Illini who has been covering Illinois Basketball for over 5 years. Brian is now the lead basketball reporter for Armchair Illini, the go-to source for Illinois athletics news. He has had work published on Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, USA Today and more.