Brad Underwood explained why Illinois has struggled to begin the new year.

In the 1st game of 2023, Illinois came up short to Northwestern in a 73-60 loss. That loss highlighted a need for Illinois to turn things around sooner than later.

Following the loss, Underwood addressed his team’s issues with the media.

“It has to become about ‘us.’ It’s one of the issue about new guys and young guys, it becomes about ‘me,'” Underwood said. “It’s got to become about ‘us.’ When it’s ‘us,’ we’ll win.”

Underwood was critical of his team’s mentality after the loss to Northwestern. He wanted his team to shift its focus on the team instead of being focused on individuals. In Wednesday’s loss, 3 Illinois players scored in double figures. Matthew Mayer led the Fighting Illini with 17 points.

Illinois suffered its 4th loss in the last 7 games. The Fighting Illini lost 2 of the last 3 games against Missouri and Northwestern. Illinois started the season with a 6-1 record through November. Through the 1st 2 months of the season, Illinois is 9-5 on the season and 0-3 in B1G play.

Wednesday’s loss to Northwestern snapped an 8-game winning streak over the Wildcats that dated back to March 2019. Illinois will look to recover vs. No. 14 Wisconsin on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET.