ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WCIA) — Illinois men’s basketball may need a wake up call after the holidays. The Illini got smacked in the Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri losing by 22, while shooting 7-31 from the 3.
Mizzou scored 33 points off Illinois turnovers, but after hanging with some top teams in the nation, the Illini might be at a cross roads in the season. After beating Texas, the Illini have looked like a different team since losing to Penn state. Illinois head coach Brad Underwood says the team needs to become tougher and said he takes responsibility for Illinois not playing up to the level he’s seen in them.
“This group doesn’t have my footprint yet,” Brad Underwood said. “Toughness. Toughness, toughness. If you ask anybody in this league or the Big Ten about what I am it’s toughness. 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,” Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr. 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 have a break until they play Thursday, December 29 at home against Bethune- Cookman.