HQ prediction: UI 83, Chaminade 66

 

Beat writer Marcus Jackson tries to get back to .500 in his Maui Invitational forecasting:

Illinois 83, Chaminade 66
(9:30 p.m., ESPN2)

The Silverswords, the annual participant in this event, are playing with a lot of confidence after knocking off Texas on Monday.

But, so are the Illini who appear to be ahead of schedule in terms of learning their new system under first-year coach John Groce. Having things figured out was a concern of the coaching staff entering the trip to Hawaii.

“When you’re playing in a tournament like this with three games in three days against great competition, you can get exposed in certain areas where our system is not rock solid yet,” Groce said. “That’s going to be good for our team, especially going forward.”

You know what else is good for the program?

Matching up against either North Carolina or Butler on Thanksgiving Eve on ESPN for the championship game of one of the most-recognized early season tournaments in the sport, which is what should happen after Tuesday’s game
against the Division II team from Honolulu. (N-G prediction record 3-1).

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jjohnson wrote on November 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

Great first half and great rebounding and mostly good defense in the second half, but let's not overlook that there were 12 TO's in that second half at a time when the shooting was not going well. We will get burned if we are that sloppy against darn near anyone. But a great win.

IlliniMike05 wrote on November 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

Totally agree, but sloppiness when you're up 34 points is not something I'd get concerned about. There's just no way to maintain that level of efficiency or effectiveness when you've ended the game before halftime.


The thing that was encouraging was that we would've won that game fairly comfortably even if we'd shot poorly. We're going to rely on the three-pointer this year fairly heavily, and that isn't a bad thing. We knew that going in about the way Groce's teams play, and this is a pretty good shooting basketball team. Having the three be a huge part of your offense is great if you have good shooters and open looks are regularly being created. I posted something the other day in response to some doofus saying we're shooting too many threes and that can't work in the Big Ten, blah blah blah; seven of the top 25 teams in offensive efficiency (according to kenpom.com) shot the three as much or more than Groce's Ohio team last year. Four of them were Big Ten teams.


Anyway, I digress. We won that game because we outworked them on every possession, got every loose ball, and killed a bigger, presumably more physical team on the glass. Also, we imposed our style on them. A team that definitely did not want to run with us was forced into a 75-possession track meet because we controlled the style of play. That's what won the game. The unconscious shooting made it a laugher.


 

PeterE wrote on November 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm

I predict an Illini win going away. D-2 Chaminade has no answer for Illinois' onslaught. Illini bigs get going bigtime in this tourney and smaller Chaminade can't stop them although they try valiantly, they are thoroughly outclassed and get a beat down. Illini defense is much better than what silver swords saw against longhorns and suffocates the swords. Another blowout for Illini as they tune up for UNC Tarheels. Wednesday night Illinois puts the nation on notice.

penniless wrote on November 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm

An Illini win after a dog fight.Illini will face a scrappy team that will run the court too.Illini chance of shooting 69 % once more is less than 10 %.Live by the 3 ball,sooner or later it will get you.Hard fought   Illini  77  Chaminade  69  ---Illni have way to much bench power.

IlliniMike05 wrote on November 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I've yet to see any actual evidence that an offense that uses the three-pointer heavily is any more or less susceptible to a power outage than other kinds. (Then again, the people that think this usually lament the downfall of the midrange game, even though midrange shots are the least efficient shot you can take.)

Short of having a game-breaking point guard or a dominant post player, what, specifically would you prefer to see Illinois do offensively? This is a team that should absolutely shoot 25 threes a game, especially with a system that can create open looks with guards like Tracy and Brandon being able to collapse a defense. This isn't to say there aren't downfalls. Yes, three-point shooting can be streaky. But an offense built around a great big man can be streaky if there aren't shooters to keep a defense honest. Same with a team that has great slashers or a point guard who can penetrate at will. Short of having multiple future pros that can do it all offensively, this kind of offense is just as efficient as anything else.

Are we just doing this because we're parroting Bob Knight talking points that haven't been valid for 20+ years? Is this why we still have people living in fear of the three-pointer in the year 2012? It's especially confusing given that the best team in school history SHOT A TON OF THREES. 

penniless wrote on November 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Its the lack of the two aspect of the game you yourself mention.The two power forwards and  a dominate big center.Our guard players thinks 3 first.Much better if its a kick out .Times at the Charity line would be better served as well.The total package much harder to defend or key against.

penniless wrote on November 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Its the lack of the two aspect of the game you yourself mention.The two power forwards and  a dominate big center.Our guard players thinks 3 first.Much better if its a kick out .Times at the Charity line would be better served as well.The total package much harder to defend or key against.

IlliniMike05 wrote on November 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm

That's what I'm saying, though. We don't have that guy. Of course you'd love to have a Greg Oden, Anthony Davis, Emeka Okafor, etc. But those guys don't come around very often. I like the progress Nnanna is making...but he ain't that guy.


Given what we have, I can't think of a way I'd rather see us be playing offense, generally speaking. Little things, yeah, and I think they'll come in time when we figure out the best spots for Nnanna to get the ball (he seems to really like it on the mid-right block, where he can quickly face up), which pick-and-roll/pop combos work the best, and so on. I'm just not averse to the number of threes we're taking and I don't get why some people are more averse to that than anything else.


Again, this is null and void if you have that dominant big. Most teams don't.