Illini grade vs. Penn State: C
Illini 64, Nittany Lions 59
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Illinois’ D.J. Richardson
The team’s leading scorer in Big Ten play did most of his damage from the line, hitting 8 of 9. Might deserve first-team All-Big Ten consideration and team MVP honors.
BACKCOURT: Penn State C+, Illinois B-
Brandon Paul scored a quiet 16 points. His better work came on defense, with a nifty steal in the first half. With a healthy Tim Frazier, the Nittany Lions wouldn’t be so bad.
FRONTCOURT: Penn State C+, Illinois C
Folks are starting to notice all the little things Sam McLaurin does so well. Thanks, Coastal Carolina. Big Serbian Sasa Borovnjak should stick around for his final season.
BENCH: Penn State D, Illinois C+
Sorry, Tyler Griffey and Tracy Abrams, the most valuable sub for the Illini was Myke Henry. Nittany Lions didn’t get a point from their bench. That’s one reason Patrick Chambers isn’t happy.
OVERALL: Penn State C-, Illinois C
The good news is the NCAA tournament selection committee won’t ask, “Did you dominate Penn State for your 20th victory?” In this case, a win is a win is a win.