Illinois men’s basketball may need a wake-up after the holiday season. The Illini got smacked by 22 to Missouri giving up the Braggin’ Rights trophy.
It was ugly from the opening tip. The Illini took 31 three pointers, made just 7 of them. Mizzou scored 33 points off Illinois turnovers. It’s the fourth loss of the season, all to unranked opponents..
This could be a crossroads for the Illini. Performances on the court haven’t looked great since beating number two Texas in the Jimmy V Classic earlier this month.
Head coach brad underwood takes responsibility for the poor level of play and says his team still lacks one key factor.
“”This group doesn’t have my footprint yet. Toughness. Toughness, toughness. If you ask anybody in this league or the Big Ten about what I am it’s toughness,” Underwood said. “How many times did we get our ball taken tonight? Just got our ball taken and it’s toughness to be able to execute. It’s toughness and discipline to be able to guard. No excuse, I got to be better. I’ve got to get these guys prepared better. I thought we had a great week of preparation, I was excited, and it had very little carryover.”
“It’s tough because I know we can be a really good team and we haven’t shown that recently,” guard Terrance Shannon junior said. “Coach always says a lot of it’s on him, but it’s us too, we’re the ones that go out there and play and it starts with me being one of the leaders on the team and I got to get the team better and ready to play.”
The Illini are back on the court Thursday against Bethune-Cookman.