The Illini got run out of their own gym against Penn State in their second Big Ten loss of the season
This is the worst performance from a Brad Underwood Illini team that I can remember at home, not counting the first two seasons. The Illini defense was horrific as Penn State lit them up from deep. The scouting report on this Nittany Lions team should have shown that they live and die by the three-ball. I don’t think the “switch on everything” defense is working for this team, they make so many mistakes. This was an ugly loss that they need to quickly shake off, despite not playing until next Saturday.
The Good Things
- Key Stats
- 11 assists
I almost don’t want to put anything down for “The Good Things.” They were bad in just about every way possible in this game. There is never much shame in losing a Big Ten game, but there is a lot of it in this one. Everything went wrong in this game, in front of a sellout home crowd. It’s totally unacceptable, so I assume Underwood let the team hear about it in the locker room after.
The Bad Things
- Key Stats
- 27-for-54 from the field, 12-for-24 from three for Penn State
- 47 points were allowed in the first half
- PSU 14 points off turnovers
This was an awful performance from the Illini. They defended poorly while allowing almost 50 points in the first half. Penn State dictated the entire game while the Illini struggled in all phases. I don’t understand why Underwood refuses to make adjustments to his offense/defense, the switching defense is not working. It was a frustrating game on all levels.
Three Studs of the Game
Stud #3 – F Myles Dread (PSU) – 5-9 FG, 5-9 3pt, 15 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Dread is an efficient three-point shooter. The Illini gave up a ton of open looks and he capitalized on them. He’s also one of the many experienced veterans on this Penn State team, so he’s played against Underwood-led Illini teams many times.
Stud #2 – G/F Jalen Pickett (PSU) – 9-17 FG, 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 2 steals
I talked about how underrated Pickett is going into this team. He had his way in the paint against a soft Illini defense, He was absolutely elite in this game, and he deserves much more national praise and Big Ten praise as well.
Stud #1 – G Andrew Funk (PSU) – 7-11 FG, 6-9 3pt, 20 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Bucknell transfer Funk took the game over when Penn State went on a 9-0 run in the second half after Illinois got their lead down. The Illini could not defend the three against a team that lives and dies with it. That’s an indictment on the players and coaches.
Onto the Next One
Next up for the Illini: Saturday, December 17th vs. Alabama A&M (3 PM CST / Big Ten Network)
It’s going to be hard to sit around and not play a game until next Saturday for the Illini after this loss. They need to respond by blowing out a team that they are way better than. Hopefully, Underwood can make adjustments to improve the offensive and defensive effectiveness, but I won’t hold my breath.
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