Illinois basketball: How far can the Illini make it in the NCAA Tournament

The Fighting Illini are once again going dancing after having another successful season. 

Season Breakdown

Illinois basketball has had a good year, going 22-9 overall and 15-5 in conference play. However, this season, Illinois has been shaky against quality teams as they are 6-6 in quad 1 games and 6-3 in quad 2 games. But they’ve won games that they were supposed to win, going 6-0 in quad 3 games and 4-0 in quad 4 games. Illini’s best wins have come against Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Rutgers, and Notre Dame. Some of their key losses have come against Purdue, Rutgers, Indiana, Ohio St, Maryland, and Marquette.

Team Breakdown

This Illinois basketball squad is led by head coach Brad Underwood and player of the year candidate Kofi Cockburn. Other players such as Trent Frazier, Andre Curbelo, Coleman Hawkins, Da’Monte Williams, and Alfonso Plummer are also big pieces for that team’s success. Illinois is a team that does a lot of things well. The Illini are ranked top 50 in assists, three-pointers made per game, and three-point percentage. But just like every team, they do have flaws. They struggle when teams have the size or length to match up against Cockburn. Also, Illinois lacks perimeter playmaking at times, and sometimes their shooters go cold from the three-point line.

How far can Illinois make it in March Madness?

Last year, Brad Underwood and the Illinois basketball team busted many people’s brackets by losing in the round of 32. But this year, I see them being able to make it to the sweet-16. Illinois is in the south region of the bracket. In the round of 64, they will play Chattanooga, and in the round of 32, they could face either Houston or UAB. I certainly believe this Illinois basketball team could lose before the sweet-16, but we will have to wait and see.

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