5 Takeaways: Michigan Basketball Vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

<5 Takeaways: Michigan Basketball Vs. Illinois Fighting Illini>

After 10 days away from the hardwood, a reeling Michigan basketball team had easily its toughest test, traveling to Champaign to take on No. 25 Illinois. While that itself is a tall task, the Wolverines had to do so without Hunter Dickinson and Brandon Johns Jr., both of whom are still reportedly in the COVID-19 protocol.

Without Dickinson and Johns, Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams got to start, and we saw Jaron Faulds get some early time as well, along with Frankie Collins, Kobe Bufkin, and Jace Howard.

Despite it seeming like this should have been an automatic win for Illinois, the maize and blue turned it into a slugfest. The Illini have been a solid scoring team, but the Wolverines kept them from being able to do much of that.

Nearly every time that the Illini started to pull away, the Wolverines managed to answer, even pulling within one point with seven minutes remaining in the second half. However, Illinois still proved to be too much for the maize and blue, eventually piling on and winning 68-53.

Here are our five takeaways from the game.

>List >Too-early 2022 Michigan football game-by-game predictions View 12 items

1 Defense leads the way

Photo: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

With the Wolverines being so short handed and without their top scorer in Hunter Dickinson, it was going to be imperative that the maize and blue do one of the things they’ve had a hard time doing this year: playing incredible defense.

And that’s precisely what Michigan did.

While the Illini would find opportunities, the Wolverines kept them to a season low in the first half, as the defense gave Michigan a chance, short handed or not, to steal the game away on the road. While that didn’t come to fruition, the maize and blue’s defense finally looked much improved, after a disappointing start to the season on that front.

5 takeaways: Michigan basketball vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Source:USA Today

5 takeaways: Michigan basketball vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

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5 takeaways: Michigan basketball vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Source:MSN

5 takeaways: Michigan basketball vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

5 takeaways: Michigan basketball vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Source:MSN

5 takeaways: Michigan basketball vs. Illinois Fighting Illini