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Illinois Basketball Has Awoken



Illinois Basketball seems to have Awoken

Illinois basketball planted its foot back into relevance. On Tuesday night, the Illini dominated the Nebraska Cornhuskers in their gym, 76-50.  Nebraska has looked solid this season. Most recently, they took Purdue to overtime in their gym. They also absolutely curb stomped Iowa on the road. Illinois looked outstanding. Maybe Nebraska is not the greatest team in the world, but time will tell. Illinois looked in sync in a very tough place to play. There were a few points that I wanted to highlight as the Illini move on into the depths of the season.

Ball Movement

This was arguably the aspect of the game that stood out to me most. Ball movement looked crisp. Nebraska actually went on multiple runs to cut the lead close, however time and time again Illinois made an extra pass for a great shot. This was really not the case one week ago against Northwestern. Illinois has shown major offensive improvements in just a week and it has paid off. Hopefully Illinois can put the stepback 3’s and careless turnovers in the past as they look like a completely different team to start 2023.


Team Defense

Illinois has actually improved this a lot ever since Sencire Harris and Dain Dainja entered the starting lineup. Harris is an absolute pest. If he can stay out of foul trouble and stay disciplined, his ability to tire out a primary ball-handler is so valuable. Dain Dainja has averaged 3.3 blocks in the last 4 games. His length has really helped the Illini on the defensive end. Additionally, Illinois is not pressing as much and is keeping their defensive scheme simpler. This has helped this young Illini squad take a long step in the right direction. Playing Drop coverage is a far more effective and simpler way to achieve an effective defense

What’s next

Illinois will face another tough test this Friday. Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans come to Champaign for what will likely be a dog fight. Illinois beat the Spartans twice last year in two very closely contested battles. Illinois has a chance to turn their 0-3 start to conference play to 3-3. That is one huge opportunity. After an outstanding haul of news Saturday, Illinois basketball looks to have finally awoken. This time for good.

Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.