Illinois head coach Brad Underwood disagrees with Coach K's assessment of college hoops season
Mike Krzyzewski may be in favor of taking a step back to reevaluate the college basketball season, but he does not have the support from a number of key coaches around the country.
On Tuesday, Duke and Illinois squared off in one of the elite B1G/ACC Challenge matchups for 2020. It was a game that the Illini dominated handedly, beating the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium by a final score of 83-68.
After the loss, Coach K said playing during the pandemic didn’t “feel right.” He also said the season is something that constantly needs to look at before announcing Wednesday that Duke was foregoing the rest of its non-conference schedule this season.
What has bothered some people is the fact that Coach K voiced these concerns after an ugly loss to the Illini and after Duke had completed its two biggest non-conference games against Michigan State and Illinois. The Blue Devils lost both of those games.
On Friday, Illinois head coach Brad Underwood was asked for his input on the season, and he believes it is important to keep playing. While Underwood agrees it should be about player health and safety, he indicated his team felt incredibly safe playing against Duke due to the ongoing testing protocols within the B1G and ACC:
“I’ll say this: We felt extremely safe playing Duke because they’re testing like we are… He’s going to speak to what is best for his program and that’s his right,” said Underwood. “And I’m going to speak for ours. Our kids want to play and we’re excited to play,” Underwood said. “We’ve been voting and I think the one thing the Big Ten has done is put an unbelievable emphasis — they put their money where their mouth is and they put it in the safety and health and well-being of our student-athletes.”
Bret Beherns with WCIA3 News shared video of Underwood’s comments:
“Coach K has his beliefs and his right to say that, I just don’t happen to agree with him.”
I asked #Illini head coach Brad Underwood about Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski questioning whether or not college basketball should be played right now after Illinois beat Duke. pic.twitter.com/yvtuKAfNxg
— Bret Beherns (@WCIA3Bret) December 11, 2020
Hopefully the season continues in a safe manner, which is certainly what Underwood is hoping for. For now, it sounds like things are as safe as possible as teams look to finish non-confence games before starting B1G play.
Illinois will return to action Saturday for Braggin’ Rights against Missouri. Tipoff is set for 8 pm EST on ESPNU.