Shooting Not a Problem

Illini fans, it's not time to panic with the Illini shooting woes displayed at the United Center in Chicago this past weekend. The greatest player to ever play the game, Michael Jordan, said "It's just different to shoot here. I don't know if it's the rims or what; I can't figure it out." Read more on the Illini "shooting" here at

Illini Nation, don't worry your little heads going into this NCAA tournament wondering if your team or the Big Ten Player of the Year Dee Brown will struggle shooting the ball. Yes, we all know Brown went 0-8 from the field and 0-5 from three-point land in yesterday's championship game. The United Center has been a home away from home for the Illini, just like it was this past weekend. They did win the tournament, in case you didn't notice. Not pretty, but like what Head Coach Bruce Weber said to the fans, "We're running out of spots to put our trophies in our office. We think there's a lot more to come."

Sitting at the game yesterday I noticed it didn't matter who shot the ball from the perimeter; if you missed, the shots came off long. Also, during the championship game I saw four shots that never made it to the rim. The UC may be proud of the tight rims they have, but it sure made for some ugly basketball by all Big Ten teams this past weekend.

As a shooter, you have to adjust. I understand that, but nearly every team struggled with their shooting. How about the horrid free throw shooting from the league's best team Friday night? MSU shot 15 for 30 - 50%. Some came off long, hit every piece of the rim and some just rolled out. On the season the Spartans shot 79% from the line and not all of those 30 attempts came in the last 5 minutes of the game, so some were not under pressure.

Not one team in the 10 games this weekend shot above 50%. Illinois came the closest with a 48.1% against Northwestern. Looking back at each game, this is what each team shot from the field:

Game #1:
Michigan - 40.4%; Northwestern - 42.3%

Game #2:
Purdue - 35.7%; Iowa - 44.8%

Game #3:
Penn State - 47.9%; Ohio State - 40.7%

Game #4:
Northwestern - 34.6%; Illinois - 48.1%

Game #5:
Minnesota - 45.1%; Indiana - 33.3%

Game #6:
Iowa - 44.2%; Michigan State - 41.4%

Game #7:
Ohio State - 34.4%; Wisconsin - 39.3%

Game #8:
Minnesota - 36.8%; Illinois - 35.7%

Game #9:
Iowa - 45.5%; Wisconsin - 41.1%

Game #10:
Wisconsin - 25.9%; Illinois - 35.8%

Today's players play better defense than in years' past. For example, in the three Illini wins they held teams to 32.5% from the field (53-163).

According to point guard Dee Brown, everything is fine. "We won the game; that's all that matters. There's nothing wrong with my shot." Head Coach Bruce Weber feels that his entire team, not only Brown, may just have tired legs. "We played great defense throughout the tournament. The shots just didn't go down. I think that it's just three days in a row - on their part and on our part. Your legs get a little tired. I thought we had the game kind of put away when we had a 13-point lead, but we couldn't get some shots down," said Weber.

On the season Illinois shot 49% from the field. There's nothing to worry about, Illini. If there is something for people to worry about, it's opposing teams trying to solve the Illini pressure defense. In a recent post game interview, Dee Brown stressed, "In this league we play defense and defense wins championships."

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