Illinois is still winless in Big Ten play so far this season. Yeah, we didn’t think we would be saying that either. A game against the Wisconsin Badgers felt more than winnable for the first time in years. However, the Fighting Illini managed to make, what could have been, an easy task extremely difficult. In fact, so difficult that the team suffered its worst loss of the season, walking out of the Kohl Center with a 75-50 loss.
Well, it’s time to fill out the Report Card for the Illini’s fifth straight loss, and it goes without saying the players may not want to take this one home to their parents.
Greg Eboigbodin: A-
Spicy G has earned the highest grade and only ‘A’ for the Illini in this one. Recently the freshman has been playing very well as Head Coach Brad Underwood has gotten him more involved in the system week after week. With Michael Finke struggle to produce under the basket for the Illini, Eboigbodin has been picking up the slack and getting it done on both ends of the court. He brought in eight points (4-5 from the field), five rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Illini need another name to step up as this season goes on, and, while Eboigbodin has a lot to learn, increasing his minutes may do Illinois some good.
Leron Black: B-
To be honest, Black didn’t have a very good game. The only reason he finds himself earning a B is because of his 16 point performance. During the game, Black remained consistent and put up quality shot after quality shot. He only had three rebounds on the night, but when up against a top Big Ten player like Ethan Happ, those are hard to come by. He may have had a hard time guarding Happ, but on the offensive end, he was still able to get it done. Black is truly a consistently talented player, and probably deserving of more Big Ten attention.
Mark Alstork: C+
Alstork may be struggling to put points on the board recently, but his on-ball defense and effort elsewhere on the court has begun to show itself. In a game where the Illini lacked any true threat, Alstork’s energetic defense and 10 rebounds was a breath of fresh air. However, he remained pretty cold from the field going 4-11 with nine points. He may have been the third leading scorer on the team in this one, but that’s not saying much when the team only scores 50 points.
Trent Frazier: C-
Frazier tried. It became evident that he got frustrated as the game went on and he was coming up cold. A 5-14 shooting performance isn’t what the breakout star freshman was hoping for, but the man deserves to be cut some slack. The past few games he has been a monster and when no one else on the Illini has been able to step up, he has continued to fearlessly lead the team. Frazier still managed to put up a double-digit performance, which is good enough.
Michael Finke, Mark Smith and the rest of the Illini team: D
The whole game was pretty much a mess. Each player had their own problems and no one could get anything going. The only upside to any of this is the fact that most players seemed to stick with it. For most of the second half, it felt like this game could have been way worse than a 25 point loss. Many guys continued the energy on the court, shout-out to Sophomore Drew Cayce, but not one player could find an ounce of momentum in their system.