Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Way-too-early power rankings for 2024-25 season

Indiana v Maryland
Indiana v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages
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8. Illinois Fighting Illini

2023-24 season record: 29-9 (14-6 Big Ten)

When fully equipped, Illinois looked every bit of a Final Four team and they would’ve likely gotten there, had they not had to deal with eventually national champions UConn in that particular region. But an even bigger challenge awaits Coach Brad Underwood, having to replace six of the top seven scorers.

Star guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (23.0 ppg) had no eligibility left, while guys like Dain Dainja and Luke Goode transferred out. We got official word that Coleman Hawkins is entering the NBA Draft, while Marcus Domask is going pro as well, electing not to contest for another year of eligibility. Assistant coach Chester Frazier and a couple of reserves left for West Virginia, replaced by former Kentucky assistant, Orlando Antigua.

As expected, Illinois has landed a few good power conference transfers. Kylan Boswell (9.6 ppg and 3.6 apg) started 35 games as a sophomore at Arizona and gives the Illini a true ball-handler to run the offense. Tre White is a double-digit scoring versatile wing from Louisville, while Carey Booth is a 6’10 big man from Notre Dame who could be a breakout candidate to watch at his new spot as a sophomore.

There’s a good amount of depth currently and the Illini still has several spots to fill. But they’ll need to find a star scorer to be the go-to option for the rest of the team to play off of. Look for Coach Underwood to find another late gem in the portal to keep Illinois as Big Ten contenders.