Illinois Basketball: 3 reasons why Illini are pretenders in 2019-20

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Illinois Basketball

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – MARCH 14: Head coach Brad Underwood of the Illinois Fighting Illini (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Illinois Basketball has been one of the biggest surprises in college basketball this season. However, there is reason to believe that the Illini are not as good as their record would indicate.

Illinois Basketball is one of the hottest teams in college basketball since the start of the new year, winning six-consecutive games, leading them to a tie with Michigan State atop the Big 10 Standings.

Before I expose the Illini as the pretenders that they are, it would only be fair to talk about the many positives that have led the Illini to their shocking season.

Sophomore point guard Ayo Dosunmu has emerged as a true leader in his second season in Champaign, proving that his decision to return to school was the right call, both for his college and future professional career.

Freshman center Kofi Cockburn has been one of the most productive freshmen in the country, averaging a near double-double per game.

Other players such as Trent Frazier, Kipper Nichols, and Andres Feliz have settled into select roles and have developed nicely, combining to form one of the most balanced rotations in the country.

Truth be told, the Illini are a good basketball team. No statistic,  single game, or strength of schedule can deny that.

With that being said, there is a difference between being a good team and a contending team. Sometimes, defining this difference requires taking a deeper dive into a team.

In the next three slides, we’ll take a deeper look into why the Illini are not the contender that they might seem to be.

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