Illini should stick to these resolutions

Illini should stick to these resolutions

Illinois already has the traditional New Year's resolutions down. Get in the gym for some hard work? Check. Eat healthy? Check. So beat writer SCOTT RICHEY came up with a few more resolutions that might make a difference on the court in 2018:

Keep feeding the big man

Name a Big Ten forward who's been more consistent in the last month. Jordan Murphy? Nick Ward? Leron Black has proven he belongs in that company. Take away the UNLV game where he injured his elbow in the first half and didn't play the second, and Black averaged 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in December.

Stop falling behind early

This one is at the top of Brad Underwood's list. The Illini coach remains "miffed" at the persistent slow starts his team has experienced through 15 games. Illinois has found ways to win — and lose — after digging itself an early hole. The latter will happen more in Big Ten play.

Let Frazier be Frazier

Will Trent Frazier put up some shots that trigger a few cringes from the Illinois coaches? Yes. Will the freshman from Florida make big plays in big moments? Also yes. So the Illini have to continue going all in on the shifty, lefty point guard. The good can outweigh the questionable.

Make sure shooters shoot

That means trying to free up Aaron Jordan for more three-point opportunities. The Illinois offense is better when the 6-foot-5 junior guard is hitting from deep and creating space for Black on the block and dribble drives from the other Illini guards. A catch-and-shoot specialist, Jordan has to be ready, too.