Brad Underwood says Illinois made 'pretty strong statement' with win over Michigan
If you flipped on Tuesday night’s game between No. 4 Illinois and No. 2 Michigan, you probably had to rub your eyes and turn the television on and off a few times to make sure the score was correct. What we saw in Ann Arbor was something nobody expected.
The Fighting Illini cruised to a 76-53 victory over the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, handing Michigan just its second loss of the season. Illinois did so without the help of star player Ayo Dosunmu, missing his third straight game due to a facial injury suffered against Michigan State.
Trent Frazier stepped up in a big way, posting a game-high 22 points in the blowout win. Andrew Curbelo dropped in 17 points off the bench and Kofi Cockburn added 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Illinois knocked down 6-of-13 attempts from 3-point range and outrebounded Michigan 42-26.
After the game, head coach Brad Underwood said his team had one of the most impressive wins of the season, especially without one of the game’s top performers.
“I’m pretty illiterate when it comes to what’s going on in the world of college basketball,” Underwood said, according to Illini Inquirer. “I look at our stuff and our league. But I would be challenged to find a better win in college basketball this year [than at Michigan], a better road win anyway. In all the analytics, they’re up there. I think it’s got to make a pretty solid statement. A lot of people have us somewhere in that 1 or 2 line anyway. Beating a team that’s 2 in the country and up there in almost every analytic has got to be a pretty strong statement. Then to do that without college basketball’s best player, pretty big statement.”
Illinois has been hovering between the No. 1 and No. 2 seed lines, but Tuesday night’s road win is certainly a big resume boost for the program heading into the B1G Tournament. The Illini have one more opportunity for a statement win, closing out the year against No. 7 Ohio State in Columbus.
With Tuesday’s win, Illinois improved to 15-4 in B1G play and 19-6 overall.