Illinois basketball coach Brad Underwood was on Scott Van Pelt’s show on ESPN Thursday night, and the pair discussed a wide variety of topics.

To lead off, Underwood discussed Illinois’ locker room celebration after its win over Michigan earlier in the week.

“The one thing we’ve tried to do, Scott, is really celebrate winning,” Underwood said. “Analytics show right now, maybe this is the toughest league in the history of college basketball. To do it against Michigan, they’ve been phenomenal all year.”

Van Pelt also brought up the fact that Illinois’ two stars — Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn — could have turned pro after last season. Iowa’s Luka Garza and others could have as well.

They discussed how having experienced cores across the Big Ten has led to the overall strength of the league.

“You’re talking about programs that are established and have cultures,” Underwood said. “Nobody lets you just pass them. You gotta be exceptional to try to do that.”

Underwood ended the interview by acknowledging the sacrifice his players and staff have had to undergo this season due to COVID-19. He says his players haven’t seen family members since June.

Here’s the full interview:

It won’t get any easier for the Illini, as they’re set to face Ohio State in Columbus on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.