Illini grade vs. Hoosiers: C
Our breakdown of the beatdown administered by Indiana on Friday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cody Zeller, Indiana. He was on the cover of every magazine in the preseason, and the big man played like a first-team All-American on Friday with 24 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Brandon Paul (16 points) was hounded by Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Victor Oladipo, but he made plays and got to the basket. Tracy Abrams (16 points) elevated his play in the second half.
Offensively, the Illini continue to get little production from their inside players, and the Hoosiers’ big men were difference-makers, with Christian Watford adding 15 points and six boards.
Joseph Bertrand played his best game in a while, scoring 10 points for the Illini, and Sam McLaurin pulled down a season-high seven boards.
The good news for the Illini is they get to play someone from outside the rugged Big Ten in the early stages of the NCAA tournament. There are some things to shore up, but they’ve learned a great deal playing in the best conference in the country.