Brandon Paul Falling Away

    It's always tough to match the performance of a 43-point game. For Illinois' Brandon Paul, his scoring may not be matching that same total, but his efforts are and that's the biggest improvement for him. This super-athlete in an undersized 2-guard's body shocked the Buckeyes, going off for 43 points, including 8 3s and 13-of-15 from the foul line in Illinois' upset of Ohio State two-and-a-half weeks ago. He hasn't hit 8 3s in the four games since, in fact, he hasn't even led his team to multiple victories in this span due to some woeful outside shooting (6-of-25 from 3). And his turnovers still remain a concern (16 total in last four). I can go on, there are many things not to like about Paul's game right now and in short: he's too trigger happy from the perimeter, making poor decisions handling the ball and settling for contested jump shots, forcing the penetration, etc… But then there are times when Paul does play hard and makes all of the right decisions and clearly, that's when he is most dangerous. He uses his quick first step to explode by his defender and into the heart of the defense. He draws the defense and the contact and can hang in the air for seemingly an eternity with the attempt to finish the play. And he's been doing this often for the Fighting Illini: about eight free-throw attempts (connecting on 78 percent of these) since the 15 he attempts against OSU.

By President Corey Ruff - 2 - 1 - 12