If Illinois fans were looking for a reason to be hyped about the 2019-20 basketball season, Andy Katz might provide the fuel.
Recently, Katz updated his Top 36 power rankings on NCAA.com and has Illinois at No. 21. His latest analysis comes following the NBA Draft declaration deadline. The college basketball expert is pretty high on the Illini heading into the year.
“Get on this bandwagon now,” Katz wrote. “The Illini have figured out how to play for Brad Underwood. And the team returned without taking a hit from the draft. Ayo Dosunmu can be first team All-Big Ten. Trent Frazier is a big-shot maker. And few bring as much passion to playing as Giorgi Bezhanishvili. The glue guys like Andres Feliz make this roster ready for a major jump.”
A major reason behind the hype is the return of Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois’ star freshman who averaged 13.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He was a player who could’ve easily declared for the NBA Draft.
Illinois ranked at No. 21 is pretty generous considering the team finished 12-21 a year ago. But with Dosunmu and Trent Frazier returning, as well as Giorgi Bezhanishvili, the Illini can make a significant jump next season.
Also mentioned in Katz’s rankings were Michigan State (No. 1), Maryland (No. 11), Purdue (No. 16), Ohio State (No. 18), Wisconsin (No. 28), Penn State (No. 34).