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Illinois Basketball: 3 keys for Illinois victory versus Iowa State in the Sweet 16

Illinois’ offense will be tested against a stubborn Cyclone defense for a spot in the Elite Eight.

Duquesne v Illinois
Duquesne v Illinois / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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#2: Limit turnovers

What makes Iowa State’s defense so impressive — and an integral part of their identity — is their ability to turn teams over. According to Iowa State’s official athletic department website, they score an average of 20.7 points off of turnovers per game, accounting for over 25% of their average scoring total, which is 75.5 PPG.

BartTorvik agrees, too, where Iowa State boasts a 25.5 turnover on defense percentage, placing them as the second-best team in the country at creating turnovers.

To limit the volume of turnovers Iowa State creates, Illinois must continue to space the floor and make reads quickly. The longer the ball sticks with one player or on one side of the floor, the better the chance the Cyclones will have at forcing a deflection or creating a turnover.

Assuming Iowa State throws wrinkles on how to defend Marcus Domask in isolation, such as a quick double, for example, it is a must that the Illini continue to move the ball with a sense of urgency like they did in the Round of 64 and Round of 32 and not play to Iowa State’s strength, which is to turn you over.