The Illinois basketball team started their March Madness journey with a win against No. 16 seeded Drexel, 78-49.
The Offense: A+
I’d be hard-pressed to nitpick anything that this offense did. They shot 57-percent from the field, only had five turnovers, and simply dominated the Drexel defense.
The Illini were simply the better team in this one and it showed. The 50-percent free throw shooting was a tiny issue, but only having eight attempts at the line gives a very small sample size.
The Defense: A+
The Illinois basketball defense looked stout on Friday. I don’t care who you play, holding your opponent to just 49 points at the college level is elite. Drexel shot just 31-percent from the field and the Illini forced 11 turnovers. Simply put, Drexel could not handle the Illinois defense.
Ayo Dosunmu: A+
Ayo delivered just as he was supposed to. The ‘Masked Mamba’ appears ready as ever to take over in March and lead this team through the tournament. A 17 point, 11 rebound, 6 assist tournament game is a great start for the All-American.
Kofi Cockburn: A+
Illinois basketball had 58 points in the paint while Drexel had just 18 points. Kofi was a huge reason for that. The big man was simply the biggest man on the court and was on a mission to dominate, and he did just that. 18 points in 20 minutes – shooting 8-of-11 from the field – is a great start for Kofi.
Trent Frazier: A
The senior played 32 minutes, had 11 points, and shot over 50-percent from the floor. Frazier was too much for the Drexel offense and defense to handle and proved to be one of the best leaders on the team.
Adam Miller: A
Miller was very impressive in this one, shooting 80-percent from the field. He has slowly picked things up since February, and if the Illini can get him going in March, the league had better watch out.
Jacob Grandison: A
Grandison was very impressive as well in the 20 minutes he played, snagging six rebounds and shooting 80-percent from the field. He continues to be a great supplement to this team on both sides of the ball.
The Bench: A
Andre Curbelo and Da’Monte Williams were the two leading players off the bench, combining for 41 minutes. Curbelo had 8 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. He continues to wow fans with his amazing footwork and passing abilities.
Williams had just four points but ended the day with 4 rebounds and 2 assists as well.