Rayvonte Rice went for 29 points and Illinois’ defense held Indiana without a field goal from the 6:44 mark in regulation until there were just 3.1 seconds left in overtime as the Illini brought home an 83-80 win over the Hoosiers.
Tracy Abrams added 17 points for the Illini while Joseph Bertrand chipped in with 13 points, numbers that aren’t exactly unprecedented given the talent that Illinois has on their perimeter. But they are somewhat surprising, as Indiana has a pretty good defense perimeter.
That’s a good sign for the Illini, as is putting up 83 points for a team that has had some scoring issues.
When do we start asking whether or not this team is legit?
At one point can we legitimately question whether or not this team can finish in the top four in the Big Ten?
There are two things that I want to see.
For starters, Illinois needs to get to the foul line more often. That’s probably the biggest knock on this group and the biggest reason they sit outside the top 100 in offensive efficiency. There offense quite often devolves into Rice or Abrams going 1-on-1, and both of those guys have a habit of pulling up for a jumper instead of getting all the way to the rim.
The other issue is on the interior. Noah Vonleh had 16 points and nine boards today despite spending much of the afternoon in foul trouble. Nnanna Egwu and Jon Ekey are both capable of stretching the floor, which makes them a valuable weapon for a team that relies on penetration from the perimeter. But they are going to score a lot of point with their back-to-the-basket and they could end up struggling against some of the better bigs in the league.
Illinois started off Big Ten play the right way, winning their last two non-conference games before beating Indiana today.
But one possessions wins over the likes of UNLV, Missouri and Indiana are not exactly overly impressive wins.
The Illini head to Wisconsin January 8th. Let’s see what happens then.
Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.
“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”
The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.
Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.
Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.
On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.
“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.
“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.
“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”
Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.
For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.
Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.