Full Version: NCAA Tournament Round 1: Illinois
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As much as I want to see Illinois (another Big 10 team) go down to a mid-major, it would make Drexel look bad that they got completely annihilated against a team that lost to a mid-major the next round.
(03-21-2021 12:57 PM)J.B. Wrote: [ -> ]As much as I want to see Illinois (another Big 10 team) go down to a mid-major, it would make Drexel look bad that they got completely annihilated against a team that lost to a mid-major the next round.

Not true at all. I assume you watched our game. Then you know we fought for 30 of the 40 minutes and were level with them despite our abysmal shooting. The 10 minutes we lost focus and went against the gameplan they destroyed us and opened it up. Loyola literally played the exact same way defensively we did, they just are better (duh) and never lost their focus. Hitting some shots to put pressure on Illinois goes and went a long way. I am not saying we could have maintained for all 40, not hitting shots gave Illinois extra confidence. If we hit some shots that first half, that is a completely different ball game. Loyola had been there, they didnt play scared. We did.

Illinois was never a good shooting team from 3 or the FT line, we just werent fast enough on our switches throughout to make them fire them up. This game was encouraging to me because Loyola achieved what we were trying to do and showed that we just dont have the talent of ranked teams. It was not because Illinois wasnt beatable. It wasnt because we had the wrong game plan. That is encouraging.
We couldn't make wide open shots. The first half we were close till the last 5 minutes in the first half. It would have been a different game.
i thought our lack of size was what really killed us against illinois. both teams struggled early until they went inside to cockburn. we had no answer. i think points in the paint were like 48-10. loyola got great production out of both of their bigs on both ends. they wwent right at cockburn in the post and were successful...with their bigs and with drives. cockburn did a really poor job with help defense against the cutters.

defensively...they pressured the illinois guards including with their bigs out at the perimeter. i was really impressed with the harmonica guy and even his backup played pretty well. impressed in general with how they executed their offense. illinois looked like a team that had it easy all year and wasn't prepared to make any adjustments when the going got tough.

we seemed to settle into man defense the entire game. i'm not sure there was much we could've done other than put williams in sooner or doubled cockburn (can't remember if we did that or not). butler was overmatched.
Size was not the problem against them. We were a bigger team than they were (beyond Cockburn). Their paint points were because we started to weaken on the pick and roll which is Illinois' bread and butter. We struggled for those 10 minutes getting through screens or switching off quick enough to stop the penetration. Once that team gets into the lane they were deadly. Loyola fought through screens better and cut off the dribble penetration. That is why Illinois was out of sorts. It was very similar to our game, except Loyola was able to do it for all 40 minutes.

Butler did well for most stretches. It was his best game on defense of the year. He was up to the challenge. A couple times he just shot over him, which is fine. But Butler really worked on him physically. Whenever Butler had to come help try and stop the dribble penetration we got buried and it ended in lob dunks etc. But 1-1 Butler did a wonderful job against a guy who had 40 pounds and 4" on him. Our defensive issues were not down low, they were out top. When the game got turned from a close game to a blowout, we werent getting through the screens well and our help defense has always been suspect. They picked that apart. We just have to be faster when helping out and stronger getting through screens and reading when screens are coming and where. We never slipped their screens and then were chasing. The game plan was fine, we just didnt execute in those 10 minutes. I am quite sure we were physically exhausted after that one.
Loyola is no typical mid-major. They are legitimately good, and arguably should have been a 5-seed. Add in the fact that they probably had more motivation to beat their major in-state rivals, and I don't really think it speaks ill for us that Illinois lost in the second round. Loyola is just a great team. They might be the new Wichita State-type of basketball force in the MVC.
Staiti was clearly the difference in this one. 0 first half points, 18 so far in the second half. Not sure what this undisclosed medical condition is but apparently it hasn't affected her play.
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