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Good Morning, Illini Nation: More on that 'not zone' zone

Jan. 31—Sign up for our daily basketball newsletter here

Welcome to "Good Morning, Illini Nation," your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He'll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood's team and college basketball at large:

The origin story of Illinois' not-zone defense apparently rests in a film session between assistant coach Zach Hamer and senior forward Coleman Hawkins. How the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics defend served as the framework for what Illini coach Brad Underwood maintains isn't a 2-3 zone despite its zone-like properties with Hawkins roaming in the middle.

"We did it at Northwestern when they were hitting shots off pin downs and ball screens," Illinois guard Luke Goode said. "We kind of gave them a different look. Against (Indiana) we wanted to keep it out of the paint because they didn't hit a shot outside the paint. Having that zone kind of look mixes things up a little bit, gives a team a different look and allows us to do different things."