March Insanity: 3 causes Illinois followers must be (perhaps a bit?) fearful about Morehead State


OMAHA, Neb. — Illinois has misplaced an NCAA Event first-round sport as a No. 3 seed dealing with a No. 14 seed earlier than. It was in 1987, a 68-67 debacle towards Austin Peay that also stings followers who bear in mind it.

In 1997, the sixth-seeded Illini misplaced a second-round sport to 14th-seeded Tennessee-Chattanooga. That was no picnic.

So what about this opening sport towards 14 seed Morehead State (26-8) — Ohio Valley regular-season and event champions — on Thursday? Must you be fearful?

Brief reply: Be terrified!

No, probably not. Nevertheless it’s not wild and loopy to suppose that Morehead State may need an opportunity. Three causes for that:

1. The Eagles are outdated: Their beginning lineup consists of 4 graduate college students and one senior.

“We’ve performed basketball a very long time,” prime scorer Riley Minix stated, “and we all know tips on how to play.”

A crew that is skilled could be anticipated to maintain its composure and never be intimidated.

“This group isn’t afraid of something,” coach Preston Spradlin stated.

2. They’re superb at what they’re good at: The Eagles rank fifth within the nation in field-goal proportion protection, permitting makes on solely 38.9% of pictures. On three-pointers, it goes manner right down to a puny 29.6%.

On the different finish, they’ll shoot the heck out of it; they’ve made a school-record 318 threes, 103 of them by Kalil Thomas.

They prefer to gradual the tempo — not what Illinois needs — they usually have the OVC participant of the yr in Minix. Solely two gamers within the nation made extra baskets than he did.

3. They in all probability ought to have gained at Indiana: They have been blown out at Purdue (87-57) and at Penn State (74-51) early within the season, however proper earlier than Christmas they held a 15-point second-half lead at Indiana solely to lose 69-68. That rating ought to no less than get your consideration.

“We actually wished to win the Large Ten South division title in these three video games, however we didn’t get it carried out,” Spradlin joked. “However [now] we get one other probability to.”


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