2021 BTT III: Scouting Report


Robert
Mar 12, 2021
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5 Comments

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The main reason I came here Thursday instead of Friday: to watch Indiana-Rutgers. I wanted to see what kind of form our first round opponent was in. Indiana had lost 5 straight, so I had a pretty good idea there, but how did Rutgers look as good as they did against us back in December and then go 10-10 in the conference? They lost at Nebraska by 21 last week - have they just fallen apart?

My first thought here, now that I know our opponent will be Rutgers: it's a Quad 1 game. Had we played Indiana, it would have been Quad 2, and if we're thinking about boosting our resume at all (or perhaps not hurting our resume), a Quad 1 opponent is better.

I guess there was a chance Indiana could have climbed to a Quad 1 game. They were 60th this morning, and for a neutral-site game to be Quad 1 it needs to be a top-50 team. So maybe had they beaten Rutgers (a Quad 1 win) and then beaten us (another Quad 1 team), they would have climbed to 49th or something and then it would have been a Quad 1 loss for us. But we don't have to worry about that now do we? (And I'm probably way too deep in "let's make our 88% chance at a 1-seed a 100% chance".)

Playing Rutgers means we'll play our 16th Quad 1 game, which is the most in the country. OK, not just the country, but the world. The most Quad 1 games in the world.

Of course, that will change tomorrow. After Minnesota won last night they moved up to 75th which made our road win there a Quad 1 win. But they lost today, and Buffalo (#76) won in the MAC Tournament tonight, so Buffalo likely leap-frogs Minnesota tomorrow and it's back to a Quad 2 game. I'm doing the whole "in too deep" thing again, aren't I?

Yes, maybe I am, but I still need to make this point. Quad 1 as of today:

Most Quad 1 games: Illinois, Michigan State, and Kentucky all have 15 Quad 1 games.
Most Quad 1 wins: Illinois (10). Next closest team has 8.

Tomorrow we wake up and the Minnesota Quad 1 win goes away after they drop. But then we beat Rutgers and it comes right back. And if we win the BTT we'd be at 12 Quad-1 wins and I'd start talking about "will the committee make us the #1 overall seed?".

It's kind of crazy to think of that. The team that wins the BTT is guaranteed 3 more Q1 wins. The eight teams remaining are ranked 3, 4, 5, 9, 20, 26, 34, and 38 in the NET rankings. No one will drop below 50 with a loss, so every single win (and loss) from here on out is Quad-1. Villanova has 3 Quad-1 wins total. Some Big Ten team is going to get 3 in the next three days.

This was supposed to be the Rutgers Scouting Report and I'm going on about Quad-1 wins. Let's change that.

Here's my thoughts on Rutgers:

  • They don't look like the team I observed in December (up close and personal since Rutgers has the best gym to watch a Covid-era game). I'm not sure what's missing. Harper Jr. being an alpha? Jacob Young being a go-to scorer? Something is definitely missing.
  • That said, they have stretches where they look very good. Rutgers was down 28-19 with about five minutes to go in the first half and then they hit the accelerator and ended up leading at halftime. Those first 15 minutes were WOOF but then the last five minutes of the half were WOW.
  • They very much seem to be a five-man team. All five starters played 30+ minutes. Bench points tonight: 8. Back-to-back games might be a struggle for them.
  • They looked a little rough on transition defense. If Indiana had 14 fast break points, feels like we could have 28.
  • There's no real "thing" that they do. It's an 8-man team that wants to play its starters as much as humanly possible. Harper went off against us but then faded as the season went on. Young shows flashes, Mulcahy is annoying, but they don't shoot the ball very well. They're just - a solid, albeit thin, team.

I kind of like facing a team we didn't beat this year. We lost to Ohio State but got another shot at them. We lost to Rutgers and now we get another shot at them. With our superhero wearing a mask.

Let's get that 10th, maybe 11th, possibly 9th Quad 1 win.

Comments

tvillini on March 12, 2021 @ 07:13 AM

I'm a little concerned about the early struggles of playing in a dome, and they've already adjusted to that. Seems like a "pound it into Kofi" for a while and build a lead.

Duce20 on March 12, 2021 @ 10:11 AM

We’re the best 2 point shooting team in the conference. 3 point shooting has been bad so far. Should bode well for us.

Giovantischixstripz on March 12, 2021 @ 09:40 AM

Rutgers is the type of team you want to avoid in a lose and you are out tournament. Between Harper, Baker, and Young they have a number of guys who can get hot and make tough shots. Miles Johnson is also one of the better options in the country to limit Kofi a little, if he can stay out of foul trouble. They are the type of team that is capable of losing to Nebraska by 21, but can also beat us in a game we didn't play all that poorly.

That said, I am fully in Brad Underwood's mentality right now of not caring who we play, put 10 guys and a ball on the court and lets go, I'm confident in what we have right now. My natural Illini mentality to brace myself for failure has been thrown out the window after the past week.

IlliniJoe81 on March 12, 2021 @ 10:35 AM

Kofi destroyed Omoruyi until the injury during our game. He then got a heavier dose of Johnson which is a tougher matchup. Also, we fouled Rutgers about 8 million times (including a bizarre flagrant foul) and we only lost by 3 at their place. I feel comfortable with this matchup.

cmi2phx on March 12, 2021 @ 12:58 PM

Saw on another site:

  • That first game against Rutgers was simultaneously Illinois' worst defensive game of the season and Rutgers' best offensive game of the season.
  • Illinois was whistled for 26 fouls (most in a game this season, tied with 2nd IU game), and Frazier, Williams and Curbelo all fouled out, the only time any of the 3 have fouled out in a game this season. The fouls led to 36(!) free throws for Rutgers to 15 for Illinois, in a game they won by 3.

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