In a conference full of uncertainty, Illinois may be the most unpredictable team, not just from game to game but within games themselves. Along with leading scorer Warren Carter and Rich McBride leaving, any sort of reliability has left as well. When Illinois can score, they are a tough team to beat, but not even Michael Jordan’s son has been able to get the team above 60 points every night.
What we know:
On any given night, Illinois can beat almost any good team or lose to any not so good team. They did everything but win the game against a very good Arizona team, and played respectably (at least better than most Big Ten schools) against Maryland and Duke. They regained bragging rights over up and coming Missouri, but can you brag that much after home losses Miami of Ohio and Tennessee State? Illinois might still be good enough to reach the NCAA tournament, but not unless they gain some semblance of consistency. Bruce Weber has his work cut out for him.
Who to watch:
- Chester Frasier may be the best guard without a jump shot in the Big Ten. He averages only 5 ppg, but more than makes up for it with 4 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. And he is only 6’2″.
Shaun Pruitt continues to build off last year remarkable improvement. He has upped his scoring average to 13 ppg and his rebounding more than 8 per game. He also has learned that passing the ball is occasionally a good thing, having already doubled last seasons assist total ( 14 this season, 7 last season).
How they’ll do:
Wins: Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, at Purdue, Northwestern, Purdue, at Penn State, Wisconsin, at Michigan, at Iowa, Minnesota
Losses: at Wisconsin, at Indiana, at Ohio State, at Michigan State, Indiana, at Minnesota, at Michigan State
Record: 11-7 (19-12 overall) and firmly on the bubble
What we don’t know:
Which is the real Illinois, the team that all but beat Arizona or the team that lost to Tennessee State?