Hello, everyone at TOC, I have wanted to try out a fanpost for a while now and I figured it would be interesting to look at the stats of the team I rooted for in my youth. Since I am from Chicago, I supported Illinois until I started High School where upon I noticed that all of the people that I knew that went or wanted to go to U of I were obnoxious. After going to MSU and hearing from all the people that feel the same way about many of the students that went to U of M, I feel that it is pretty similar. Thankfully Illinois has been awful at basically every sport that matters to me so I haven’t had to hear about them for a while so they rank a distant 3rd on my anger meter behind U of M and Notre Dame.
The stats I use were not the hardest to find or make wherein I used a few different websites for the numbers and since I really liked ExTeeBallPitcher’s minutes adjusted stats page. I also decided to adjust the numbers for 30 minutes to show the player’s stats if they received starter minutes.
By this point in the season John Groce has narrowed down his lineup to 9 players who have played in every game, with Colbert only playing in 14 and LaTulip only playing in 10. The same 5 starters have started every game this season and for comparison their sixth man receives less minutes per game than both Trice and Costello. The starting 5 is also very experienced with Abrams, Rice, and Egwu being Juniors and the rest being Seniors. They also play a very Guard heavy lineup with Egwu, Ekey, and Morgan being the only Forwards and Centers that get minutes.
Speaking of said frontcourt, Ekey plays the stretch 4 role that Payne plays in that he has taken the most three point attempts on the team and is shooting around 38% from the 3 point line. He plays sound D without fouling most of the time and is the best D rebounder on the team. That said he isn’t particularly great at anything and can be beaten by taller or more athletic forwards. Egwu on the other hand is an athletic Center who gets all of his points near the painted area. He is an elite shot blocker and very good O rebounder, but due to all the block attempts he can be beaten on the D boards where he has an even worse percentage than the rest of the starters.
The backcourt is where most of the points come from with Rice leading the team in that regard. He is the shooter on this team in that he has taken the most shots and while he isn't a very good 3 point shooter at 32% he does shoot 52% from inside the three point line. He is also a very good rebounder for a shooting guard and has the ball in his hand more than the point guard. Speaking of Abrams he is the definition of a combo guard in that he is the second most prolific shooter and is nowhere near App’s assist/30 total, he also rebounds well which is a recurring theme with this Illinois team. One negative is that he is a bad 3 point shooter and is not very efficient when shooting the basketball. The final starting guard is Bertrand who should probably shoot more than Abrams in that he is way more efficient with his shots. He shoots around 50 percent from everywhere but he will only shoot 3s if he is wide open considering he has only taken 25 on the season.
The reserves are 3 more guards and a very raw center. Tate is the prototypical pass first point guard who is not a threat to shoot, Nunn hasn't really separated himself in anything yet except having the best steal percentage, and Hill is a taller G-SF who is also pretty good at rebounding. The lone forward reserve who has played in every game is Morgan who is a very raw center who is also very good at blocking and rebounding, but also fouls the most on the team. The other 2 have CD-DNP some games with Colbert just being another big body who rebounds, and LaTulip is the guy who just gets in at the end of games and hangs out at the 3pt line.
All in all, the biggest battle, in my opinion, will be when MSU is fighting for the defensive boards, because this Illinois team is very good on the offensive glass, especially Egwu. Costello or whoever is matched up with the two forwards really needs to be on their game and box-out well or those two players will kill us on the glass. I thought they were very overrated when they reached 23rd before that Wisconsin game and 3 straight losses have shown a lot of their weaknesses. This is definitely a very winnable game. Go Green!