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Penn State Basketball vs. Illinois Preview: Nittany Lions Visit Fighting Illini at the Perfectly Wrong Time

It only took 3 months, but Penn Point out has last but not least started off actively playing like a aggressive basketball crew currently with wins in 3 of its last 5 games. The two most latest victories, a key upset above Michigan and a entire humiliation of Nebraska, are an indicator that maybe Pat Chambers is continue to match to be the coach of this battling system. On the other hand, the latest good results might glimpse like a fluke if the Lions can’t keep on their profitable approaches down the stretch.

Scouting the opposition

Enter Illinois, a younger system that bought off to a extremely slow commence this year ahead of strengthening radically less than the steerage of 2nd-year head coach Brad Underwood. Before dropping to Wisconsin on Monday, the Illini experienced rolled off four straight wins in opposition to Nebraska, Michigan Point out, Rutgers, and Ohio Point out. Rather decent get the job done for a system that only won six games ahead of February.

The crucial to the turnaround has been a team of younger players led by freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu. The Chicago native’s athleticism and vision allows him to impression the sport from any place on the court, as he’s averaging 14.1 points and 3.2 helps per sport. Dosunmu is not the most efficient scorer close to, but his 35-percent clip from 3-place array implies the defense need to keep close no make any difference the place he’s at.

Sophomore guard Trent Frazier provides more capturing to the backcourt, as he hits 42 percent of his photographs from over and above the arc. He proved last year that he’s able of actively playing place guard, but with Dosunmu working the offense, Frazier is usually best served as the finisher instead of the creator.

On the inside, middle Giorgi Bezhanishvili has occur up big currently with his ability to rating down lower. His unbelievable 35-place performance in opposition to Rutgers gave Illinois a raise and place Bezhanishvili on the radar as a big man that Significant Ten opponents need to have to do a little excess to prepare for.

What to observe for

Bolton’s incredibly hot shot – Rasir Bolton struggled with his soar shot for considerably of January, but considering the fact that the overtime loss to Purdue on the last day of that thirty day period, he’s capturing 14-for-28 from over and above the arc. The incredibly hot streak has offered Penn State’s offense a kick in the rear, and it is no coincidence that his most entire sport of the time — 8-for-12 capturing, 21 points, four helps in opposition to Nebraska — led to the Lions’ highest scoring output.

Wheeler’s peculiar talent – It’s sometimes entertaining to imagine what kind of participant Jamari Wheeler could be if he could just shoot a little little bit. He’s excellent at thieving the ball, actively playing limited man defense, and working the fast crack. Plus, now he has a new ability with the way he assaults the glass on offense. Wheeler has 10 offensive rebounds in his last four games despite usually staying the smallest man on the ground. His deficiency of a scoring touch is continue to frustrating, but Wheeler often finds approaches to remind us that he belongs on the court.

Just get pleasure from Stevens – Lamar Stevens figures to be a four-year participant at Penn Point out, but you under no circumstances know with the way he’s actively playing this year. The junior electricity forward is actively playing the best ball of his vocation, and now the final results are coming with it many thanks to some enable from his teammates. Stevens is also big for most guards to examine and also swift for most big males. That’s why he’s turned into these types of a prolific scorer who is also a fierce rebounder and clutch shot blocker when necessary.


It’s good to see Penn State’s younger guards showing these types of guarantee, but Illinois has even more talent in the backcourt. The determining variable in this sport could be Myles Dread, who has been peaceful currently immediately after hitting 5 3-tips in the Michigan win. If Dread and Bolton are both crushing jumpers from downtown, it is heading to be difficult for any opponent to retain pace with Penn Point out. Having said that, I’ll consider Illinois in a close a person mainly because of how sound the Illini have been at dwelling currently.

Illinois 82, Penn Point out 79

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