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Northwestern vs. Illinois: Player Grades

In-state "rival" Illinios came into Welsh-Ryan and escaped with a victory over Northwestern.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern outshot and outrebounded Illinois, but couldn't make up a late-game deficit and dropped to 1-3 in Big Ten play.

Let's take a look at how each individual Wildcat performed. Per usual, we'll rank players in order of minutes played.

Bryant McIntosh

Grade: B-

McIntosh came out of the gates hot, connecting on two three-pointers for Northwestern's first six points of the game. He managed to finish with an impressive 16 points, but a particular number on his stat sheet sticks out like a sore thumb: five. It's the number of turnovers McIntosh had, and it's a key reason why Northwestern lost this game.

Illinois is more athletic than Northwestern and was able to show that athleticism in transition after a Northwestern miscue. It's hard to believe that Northwestern only forced three turnovers, and even harder to praise McIntosh when you consider that he committed over a third of the game's total turnovers.

Alex Olah

Grade: A-

Olah responded to my criticism well and was aggressive all night. It was refreshing to see Olah impose his will on the game, and his final stat line was impressive: 14 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

I'm eager to see how Olah backs up this good performance, because it's not the first good one he's had this year. His problem has been inconsistency, so let's hope he doesn't follow this game up with more games where he disappears and finishes with six points and four rebounds.

Tre Demps

Grade: C

Tre Demps just might be Northwestern's most consistent player. You know what you're going to get from Demps every night -- you're going to get step-back two-pointers with his foot on the line, you're going to get a few (but not too many) nifty passes that set up teammates, and you're going to get a clutch bucket if the game is close.

Against Illinois, Demps took somewhat of a backseat offensively, shooting only seven times (he averages around 12) and only made three. He's now shooting 38 percent from the field, which is far from desirable.

Sanjay Lumpkin

Grade: B-

Lumpkin did a little bet of everything in his 28 minutes, and was pretty good defensively. But he's still just not a huge factor on either end of the floor.

Jershon Cobb

Grade: C+

First and foremost, it was a pleasure to see Cobb play 27 minutes. He looked as good physically as I've seen, and it's not unreasonable to predict that he'll play a much bigger role for Northwestern going forward.

That being said, Cobb made only two of seven shots and was one of four from three-point range. Northwestern needs Cobb (when he's healthy enough to be on the floor) to shoulder an offensive load, and 2-7 shooting isn't going to get it done.

Vic Law

Grade: D

Against Illinois, Vic Law was, for the most part, invisible. When you take a look at Law's Big Ten averages, it's hard to be satisfied with his play so far this season: 3 points, 4.2 rebounds, .5 assists, and perhaps most shocking of all, only 18.25 minutes per game.

Our expectations of Law coming into the season were too high, but his play recently hasn't been good, and the coaching staff is starting to take notice as evidenced by his decreased playing time.

Dave Sobolewski

Grade: B+

Sobolewski didn't turn the ball over and made two of his three-point attempts, which is really all you can ask him to do in the role he's currently playing for this Northwestern team.

While Sobolewski isn't able to defend athletic guards, he's been a solid three-point shooter and his experience and steady hand is a nice change of pace for this young team.

Nathan Taphorn

Grade: B-

Taphorn played a ho-hum eight minutes and made one of his two three-point attempts. He's still shooting better than 50 percent (!!!) from three point range, and I'd like to see him play more, particularly late in games.

Jeremiah Kreisberg

Grade: D

Kreisberg played seven minutes yet managed to turn the ball over three times. That's a pretty awful turnover rate, and it's indicative of Kreisberg's extremely limited offensive game. He plays hard and does his best on the defensive end, but he's not at all athletic by Big Ten standards and you can expect more stat lines like the one against Illinois: 1 point, 2 rebounds, 0 assists and 3 turnovers.

Scottie Lindsey

Grade: N/A

I didn't see enough of Lindsey in his two minutes on the floor to accurately access his play.