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Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:
Illinois entered Thursday night's games ranked 294th nationally in three-point percentage. That's what happens when you only make 31.7 percent of your shots from deep. Yet, the Illini have also attempted 564 three-pointers this season. At nearly 26 per game (25.6 to be exact) that's the 33rd most in the country.
After making 10 of 19 three-pointers in its home win against Wisconsin on Jan. 7, Illinois has made just 43 of 159 in the seven games since. That's 27 percent in a stretch that included a 5 of 29 effort in Tuesday's win against Nebraska.
"Let me know when you figure it out," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "We shoot a million of them. I say this every day. RJ Melendez is a really, really good shooter, and the ball's not going in. We'll see if that's where we get Luke Goode back and that helps. We've seen Matt Mayer go on huge runs. I thought he took some really hard shots (Tuesday). We need (Coleman Hawkins') three-point shooting. he's been fighting a little wrist injury.
"Hey, we've got good shooters. We've got to find the right balance. (Nebraska) is No. 1 in college basketball in the number of jump shots given up, so you know you're going to shoot some of those. But to go 5 of 29 and win by 16? I'll take it."