Illini Basketball

Self … uh, where?ness

No, not Bill Self.

A fascinating takeaway from the Laugher in East Lansing is that MSU knows a lot more about the Illini men’s basketball team than the Illini men’s basketball team.

After effectively removing Kofi Cockburn & Giorgi Bezhanishvili from Illinois’ offense, the Michigan State Spartans told how they did it. This was not boasting. They were simply answering posed questions, honestly. It’s the naked forthrightness of Tom Izzo and the culture he’s instilled since arriving in East Lansing in thirty-six years ago. He has nothing to hide.

Marcus Bingham blocks Kofi Cockburn’s shot

Xavier Tillman offered his analysis of Giorgi Bezhanishvili. He explained that he’d scouted Giorgi’s attempts to feed Cockburn from the high-post. He knew the tells.

He added that he respects Giorgi’s game, which players always say to cameras & microphones, but he seemed sincere in saying it. He respects Giorgi, and he knows Giorgi’s high-post moves.

Giorgi’s low-post moves are not so easy to defend, because Giorgi can pivot, and change hands/plans mid-step. That’s why Giorgi was (as) effective (as anyone wearing orange) on FGAs Thursday.

Marcus Bingham assented to the suggestion that Michigan State specifically sought to shut down the Giorgi-Kofi mechanism.

The Illini, on the other hand, don’t seem to know why they can’t execute their offense. Ayo Dosunmu said the team has had plenty of time to gel, including 60 practices. But he also pointed to Italy as a time when team chemistry got a boost.

Kofi Cockburn did not travel to Italy.

Brad Undrwood, offered a softball about giving his young players time to learn from their mistakes, and hone their skills GOT REALLY MAD (go figure) at the notion that social media thinks Giorgi commits too many turnovers. Most of those turnovers are errant passes to Kofi.

Underwood seems to understand that those two need time on the court together, and not just in practice, to perfect their timing and learn each other’s instincts in the face of fierce, high-major defenses. (But he certainly didn’t understand the question.)