Thursday, February 22, 2024

College Basketball Better Watch Out For The Fighting Illini


Head Coach Brad Underwood has slowly turned the Illinois Men’s Basketball program into a dynasty. He came in with an extremely respectable resume after coaching at Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State, and it seems that he only wanted to continue adding to it. Since taking over in Champaign, Underwood has a 90-63 record and has proven that he’s one of the most underrated coaches in America. This season alone, The Illini are 19-7 and currently sit tied atop the Big Ten conference standings. That’s pretty absurd for a team that’s had to deal with so many missing pieces throughout the season. Example A:

This is just what Brand Underwood does, though. He takes teams that are full of young men and turns them into absolute beasts. This is meant metaphorically, but it’s also a legitimate statement. He makes these players look NBA-ready by the time they’re ready to leave. Just take a look at Ayo Dosunmu and what he’s done for the Bulls this season. His career and rise is the perfect example to recruits of what playing for this team can do to your career. This coaching staff that Underwood has built around him has figured out a blueprint, and it’s beautiful.

4th Quarter DeMar, Meet 2nd Half Trent

It looked to be yet another easy win for those who bet on the Illinois money line against Michigan State Saturday afternoon in East Lansing until it wasn’t. Going up on the Spartans early in the second half, it looked to be a lock. Then the Spartans decided to go on a bit of a tear themselves. It got back to a 2 point ball game with under a minute to go, and it would seem like a proper time for fans to get timid, nervous, maybe even straight giddy. Illinois fans, however, know they have a secret weapon to help seal the deal in tight situations. Who you may ask? The veteran himself: Trent Frazier.

This couldn’t have been without the help of teammates like Jacob Grandison dropping 24 and Kofi putting together a slight 27 piece with a side of 9 rebounds. With that being said, it’s honestly just humorous at this point because everybody knew this bucket was coming. Who else do you expect to pull up from outer space on a road game against a Top-20 team? Specifically, the man who went from no points to twelve to finish the game. This classic Trent Frazier dagger was everything Illini nation needed to solidify their weekend. In all seriousness, this is just what Trent does. Ice in his veins, it’s nothing new.

This Team Will Get The Job Done

Some of you may be thinking that this team can’t get past the toughest opponents because there’s no Ayo. Well, let’s just say one thing…No Ayo, No Problem. Listen, this team may have lost last year in the Round of 32 against Loyola Chicago, we get it. But they will learn from their past mistakes and as long as Brad Underwood is there, they will not lose in a blowout like that again. Assuming they can all stay healthy, they have enough talent and depth to lead them deep in March Madness, but especially the Big Ten tournament. Until then, enjoy this win, Illini Nation.

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