Illinois Men's Basketball 2020 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Illinois Fighting Illini

Big Ten (21-10, 13-7)

At the end of January, Illinois was 16-5 and competing for a Big Ten title. Things fell apart a little bit after that, but the Fighting Illini still did enough to reach their first NCAA Tournament since 2013. This is an Illini squad that surprised just about everybody and they will look to continue those surprises in the tournament.
Big Wins: 1/8 at Wisconsin (71-70), 1/25 at Michigan (64-62), 3/7 Iowa (78-76)
Bad Losses: 12/2 Miami FL (79-81), 12/21 vs Missouri (56-63), 2/15 at Rutgers (57-72)
Coach: Brad Underwood
Why They Can Surprise:
Despite a four-guard lineup and not a very big group of guards at that, this is a very good rebounding team. Last season the Illini were one of the worst teams in the country on the glass. This time around they are one of the best. Much of that has to do with freshman center Kofi Cockburn. He averages 8.8 rebounds per game and added 13.3 points. Giorgi Bezhanishvili provides some quality depth up front as well. With some decent rebounding guards like Ayo Dosunmu, Andres Feliz and Alan Griffin, Illinois will continue to be very effect in the rebounding department. Dosunmu is also a prolific scorer, leading the team with 16.6 points per game.
Why They Can Disappoint:
All the guards are decent scoring threats, but this is not a team that will score in bunches. Their outside shooting is nearly non-existent and they will not create too many turnovers that lead to easy buckets. Griffin has been the most consistent three-point shooter and Trent Frazier has had some good games, but Illinois has not been able to rely on their outside shooting on a regular basis this season. If Griffin or Frazier are struggling to knock down shots, the opposition can have an easier time clogging the lane and stopping the slashers from getting to the basket.
Probable Starters:
Ayo Dosunmu, Sophomore, Guard, 16.6 ppg, 3.3 apg, 4.3 rpg
Andres Feliz, Senior, Guard, 11.0 ppg, 2.9 apg, 5.0 rpg
Trent Frazier, Junior, Guard, 9.1 ppg, 1.9 apg
Da’Monte Williams, Junior, Guard, 2.8 ppg, 1.3 apg
Kofi Cockburn, Freshman, Center, 13.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Key Role Players:
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Sophomore, Forward, 6.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Kipper Nichols, Senior, Forward, 3.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Alan Griffin, Sophomore, Guard, 8.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.2 (136th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.3 (63, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (142, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.5 (95, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (307, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.9 (294, 14)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.8 (110, 7)
Rebound Margin: 7.5 (10, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 164, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (84, 9)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2017NITFirst Round win over Valparaiso
2017NITSecond Round win over Boise State
2017NITQuarterfinal loss to UCF
2015NITFirst Round loss to Alabama
2014NITFirst Round win over Boston University
2014NITSecond Round loss to Clemson
2013NCAARound of 64 win over Colorado
2013NCAARound of 32 loss to Miami
2011NCAARound of 64 win over UNLV
2011NCAARound of 32 loss to Kansas
2010NITFirst Round win over Stony Brook
2010NITSecond Round win over Kent State
2010NITQuarterfinal loss to Dayton
2009NCAARound of 64 loss to Western Kentucky
2007NCAARound of 64 loss to Virginia Tech
2006NCAARound of 64 win over Air Force
2006NCAARound of 32 loss to Washington
*all team stats through 3/8