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Wisconsin: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Illinois suffers its seventh conference loss and fifth in a row.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

So, the Illini were blown out for the first time under Brad Underwood on Friday night, 75-50. Illinois looked like they might have a chance to edge out the Badgers in the Kohl Center for the first time in years as Wisconsin has struggled lately — that was not to be the case. The Illinois offensive attack never really got the ball rolling, whereas the Badger offense seemed unfazed by the stout Illini pressure.

Frankly, there wasn’t too much “good” at all.

The Good

  • Greg Eboigbodin - It wasn’t a super pretty night for Ebo, or any Illini really. However, he did contribute some solid minutes. He tallied eight points, five rebounds, three blocks, and a steal. Three fouls limited him to just 18 minutes though.
  • Alstork’s Boards - Mark Alstork has had some trouble adjusting to the high-major level, and that’s apparent. At this point, I’m happy with any way that he can contribute. Ten rebounds (seven offensive) and decent defense wouldn’t bother me if that’s all he did every game.

...and that’s about it. For this article’s sake, there was a bit more “bad” and “ugly” than “good.”

The Bad

  • Without Trent, Offense is Hard - This is not to take away from the stretch Trent Frazier has had. He’s been exceptional, and I don’t think anyone could have predicted the success he’s had so far. But when Trent isn’t on, Illinois is really going to struggle. This offense struggles in the first place, but they are really, really going to struggle. Now he still managed to contribute 11 points but that was on 5-of-14 shooting and just 1-of-5 from deep. Frazier is being asked to carry too much than he should have to as a freshman, but his production so far has been outstanding.

The Ugly

  • Three-Point Shooting - Just 1-of-14 for the game and 0-of-9 in the second half from behind-the-arc is not going to win very many games. I mentioned Frazier’s cold shooting above. Besides that, Alstork, FInke, Smith, Williams, Cayce and Nichols all had attempts.
  • Free Throw Attempts - Illinois was just 3-of-7 from the free-throw line. Seven attempts for the whole game is unacceptable. This stat is a glaring indicator for the Illini’s lack of a true post presence and a timid perimeter that is afraid to draw contact, get to the line and knock down some free throws.
  • Assist/Turnover Ratio - Another big ouch. Illinois had just seven assists as a team for the whole game, six of which came in the first half. That means Illinois assisted on ONE basket in 20 minutes. Trent and Leron were each responsible for four turnovers, but Frazier also dished out five of the team’s assists.
  • Just the Whole Second Half in General - Atrocious is a good way to describe what those of you who chose to stay tuned in had to endure. Just 18 points, one assist, seven turnovers, and 0-of-9 shooting from deep is just flat-out ugly. The Illini flat out got exposed Friday night.

The Illini return to action Monday night against Michigan State.