Brad Underwood and Illinois basketball are going through the wringer with their nonconference schedule this season.

Coming into the season, Underwood acknowledged the challenging slate compiled by the Illini this season. However, he’s not expecting the unit to back off a challenge, and Illinois delivered with some strong performance in Las Vegas.

Over the weekend, Illinois was taking part in the Roman Main Event tournament. On Friday, the Illini knocked off No. 8 UCLA before facing No. 16 Virginia on Sunday.

Unfortunately, Illinois was unable to pull out a win in Sunday’s finale, falling to the Cavaliers in a spirited 70-61 final score. Both sides played well throughout, and the game was much closer into the final minutes of action than the final score indicated.

After the game, Underwood admitted he was “excited for the learning curve” against Virginia. He also said both teams were really dialed in defensively.

As for his outlook for Illinois, Underwood said he knows his team is “pretty good” but noted the team is also “going to be really good.” The simple task now is improving moving forward.

Moving forward, Illinois is 4-1 and will face Lindenwood in a Black Friday contest. The Illini will also face Syracuse and Texas in the nonconference schedule.