Penn State–Illinois Preview
As odd as it sounds, the Lions have a pretty good chance at winning this one. Five of the past nine contests have been won by 1 point and the Lions are slowly starting to hit their shots. Despite the recent collapse against Wisconsin, they should have more confidence in their ability to shoot the ball. That could go a long way in actually hitting their shots. If the Lions had won against Wisconsin, a lot more light would have been made of Chris Babb’s 17 points, he seems to have come out of his slump and is starting to settle for some shots inside the arc. Bill Edwards also started using the glass more as well as his body, if he can work it in the lane in a similar way that Jamelle could, Edwards could really start to find his spot on the court.
In the last meeting, both teams hit eight 3 pointers, but the Lions took 13 more than Illinois. If they can limit their shots outside to ones that come at the right sequence in the shot clock that could make a huge difference in the Lions offense. Unless it’s a good shot, you should wait to see what other looks you can produce before you just chuck it up.
A really big hurdle this team seems to be facing is trust. Not trust in the sense of falling back and letting your co workers catch you, but trust in the sense that everybody is going to do their part. For a good 35 minutes of the Wisconsin game the Lions looked and played like the better team. Their athletic ability was clear and the ball movement was pretty good. Then as the Badgers made their run the Lions depended on Talor to do it for them.
The stump takes it to a whole new level..
It isn’t a bad idea to let your playmaker have the ball, but when you’ve controled the whole game, you shouldn’t stray away from what has been working. Some of that lies on Ed to recognize, and some of that has to do with how Talor executes the offense. Gus Johnson called him out in the broadcast for taking a pretty bad shot early in the possession, and while no one is trying to take anything away from Talor, he needs to trust his teammates. That being said, the rest of the team needs to have a little faith in their own abilities to play ball. 0-7 is just your record now, it doesn’t mean you can’t get better.
Illinois gives the Lions a chance to get the illusive W. They can do it, they just need a little faith in themselves and each other.