CHAMPAIGN — Michigan principally delivered a halftime information dump Saturday afternoon when the announcement that its Feb. 11 residence recreation towards Illinois was postponed as a part of the Wolverines’ return to play following its COVID-19 pause.
Your complete Michigan athletic division was idle for two-plus weeks beginning Jan. 23 following a advice from the Michigan Division of Well being and Human Companies to pause athletic actions in all sports activities, together with video games, group and particular person coaching periods. It value the Wolverines 5 video games and created extra schedule shifting for the Massive Ten.
“Now we sit and wait,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood mentioned after his group’s 75-60 win towards Wisconsin on Saturday. “We’ll see what comes our means from the league workplace to seek out out who’re subsequent opponent is.”
Underwood is relying on the Massive Ten to change the league slate. Possibly get one of many Illini’s postponed video games towards Nebraska or Michigan State rescheduled. If not, Illinois is one other nine-day hole between video games with the subsequent recreation presently on the schedule a Feb. 16 residence date towards Northwestern.
“I don’t suppose we’ll have one,” Underwood mentioned about repeating the nine-day hole it had between video games final month. “I simply suppose there’s loads happening within the league workplace. There’s quite a lot of choices. I’ve received to suppose we’ll have a recreation right here earlier than later.”
Illinois has a light-weight day scheduled for Sunday. Movie evaluate will shut out Saturday’s win towards the Badgers. The group will get some free throw capturing work in after which have the remainder of Sunday off.
“Then we’ll reconvene and see what and who’s subsequent and prepare to go on Monday,” Underwood mentioned. “If we don’t know anyone, we’ll apply and work on ourselves and get higher that means.”
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Kofi Cockburn’s 23-point efficiency towards Wisconsin got here through a relatively dominant efficiency within the paint.
The Illinois sophomore heart had eight dunks on the Badgers, who apparently can thank Indiana ahead Trayce Jackson-Davis for Cockburn deciding he was able to dunk nearly all the pieces.
“That’s it. He dunked on me, and now everyone’s going to really feel me,” Cockburn mentioned. “That’s all I’ve received to say about that.”
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Underwood has clamored for Cockburn to develop into extra assertive offensively.
Cockburn’s teammates have informed him the identical factor.
That prompting definitely labored Saturday. Cockburn’s eight dunks towards Wisconsin gave him 75 for his profession. Based on the statistical database stored by Bart Torvik that dates again to 2008, Cockburn handed Mike Davis for many dunks in an Illinois profession. Cockburn’s 75 got here in 49 video games. Davis’ 70 got here in 138.
The way in which Cockburn manhandled the Badgers within the paint is what his coaches and teammates see on daily basis in apply. It doesn’t matter if Cockburn is matched up towards Giorgi Bezhanishvili or Jermaine Hamlin or Brandon Lieb or Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk.
“Kofi simply annihilates all these guys in apply,” Underwood mentioned. “I requested Brandon Lieb (Friday), I mentioned, ‘Why can’t you simply cease him?’ He provides me the response and he goes, ‘Coach, he’s 7-foot, 300 kilos and the strongest human being I’ve ever seen.’
“I believe Kofi is attending to the purpose the place he feels comfy doing that in video games when it comes to not being afraid he may commit a foul. Simply being that bull in a china closet mentality.”
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Ayo Dosunmu’s triple-double towards Wisconsin noticed the Illinois guard match his career-high with 12 rebounds. He additionally had 12 rebounds within the Illini’s early December win at Duke.
These 12 rebounds towards Wisconsin, although, had been only one shy of Dosunmu’s whole rebounds in his earlier 4 video games. Suffice it to say, he heard about it from the Illinois teaching workers — notably assistant coach Orlando Antigua.
“Coach O, he simply was on me all week,” Dosunmu mentioned. “I promise you. Each possession in apply on me. Making me run if I didn’t rebound. I like to be coachable. That’s my important goal is to be coachable and hearken to what my coaches are saying.”
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Andre Curbelo performed an essential position in Illinois’ win Tuesday at Indiana with 12 factors, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Curbelo’s fourth help got here on what was basically a game-winning dunk by Cockburn.
Within the curler coaster that may be a freshman season in faculty basketball, Curbelo struggled Saturday towards Wisconsin. The 6-1 backup level guard was held scoreless and completed with extra turnovers (4) than rebounds (one) or assists (additionally one).
“He made some performs, I’ll be sincere, I don’t thoughts offensively,” Underwood mentioned. “I used to be upset with him for letting (Wisconsin guard D’Mitrik) Trice get happening a pair buckets. I do know one factor. That’s an ultra-competitive child who’s very, very good. The lesson shall be discovered, and we’re going to see a very, actually good Andre Curbelo in our subsequent recreation.”
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Curbelo was on the receiving finish of some robust love from Underwood after a very tough stretch within the first half. Curbelo listened to all of it earlier than getting encouragement from Cockburn.
“It’s all a part of the curve,” Underwood mentioned. “It’s all a part of the street to success. I speak about it on a regular basis. Ayo made a mistake and confirmed up late to a shootaround, and I didn’t play him within the East Tennessee State recreation as a freshman — not even a second. Now Ayo’s out right here two hours earlier than video games and shootarounds and he’s by no means late. It’s progress.”
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Whereas Trice led Wisconsin with 22 factors, the Badgers didn’t get a lot else out of their starters.
Brad Davison was held scoreless for the primary time since a Jan. 3, 2020, recreation towards Ohio State. Micah Potter completed with simply eight factors Saturday on 4 of 12 capturing. That included lacking all 5 of his three-point makes an attempt. Limiting Potter got here right down to realizing the scouting report. Practically 75 % of Potter’s ball display screen actions see him pop as an alternative of roll.
“Possibly a troublesome capturing evening,” Underwood mentioned. “I’m certain it is going to be a special story in Madison. Kofi does a superb job, and he’s a reasonably imposing man at 7-foot and 300 kilos when he’s closing out.”
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Illinois snapped its 15-game shedding streak to Wisconsin final season in Madison, Wis. The Badgers nonetheless entered Saturday’s recreation holding a seven-game successful streak in Champaign, although. Contemplate that streak snapped, too.
“These are nice, nice issues to have damaged and are available to an finish,” Underwood mentioned. “This league is so good and all the pieces is so laborious. I wish to stroll into the locker room after each recreation and have fun them like heck as a result of I understand how laborious successful is. I certain don’t wish to ever get to a degree we take that as a right.
“It’s an indication of what this teaching workers has carried out and this administration when it comes to serving to us get this factor going the place we are able to go snap a few of these lengthy streaks.”