Busting Brackets

NCAA Tournament 2024: Ranking the starting lineups of each Sweet 16 team

Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2) grabs the ball against
Apr 3, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Tristen Newton (2) grabs the ball against / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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10. Illinois (3-seed)

Marcus Domask (Senior – Forward)

After four years of incredible scoring numbers at Southern Illinois, Domask transferred to Illinois for his final collegiate season and has been marvelous this year. After a slow start, Domask really settled into a major role on offense for Illinois, averaging 16.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. He picked up the slack when Terrence Shannon was suspended and recently recorded a triple-double against Morehead State in the opening round of the Big Dance.

Quincy Guerrier (Senior – Forward)

Another prominent transfer, Guerrier spent two seasons apiece at Syracuse and Oregon and is making a certain impact as a fifth-year player with the Fighting Illini. He’s averaging 9.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, which certainly aren’t the best numbers of his career, but he’s found a role here in this system, especially as a frontcourt presence for a team that plays often without a true center, yet who boasts a solid stroke from outside.

Coleman Hawkins (Senior – Forward)

Now in his fourth season at Illinois, Hawkins has really developed into a major piece of the puzzle. He’s not a prototypical big man, but he causes all kinds of havoc for the Fighting Illini, averaging 12.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He scored in double figures in Illinois’s first two Tournament games and fills the stat sheets. He has the ability to create inside while also making a career-high 38% from outside the arc.

Ty Rodgers (Sophomore – Guard)

The youngest piece in this starting five, Rodgers is a former Top 60 recruit who’s slowly building into a great weapon for the Illini. Though he’s yet to really standout in the Tournament, Rodgers averages 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and played well during Illinois’s Big Ten Tournament championship run. He’s not a threat from outside the arc, but Rodgers makes up for that with other parts of his game, especially on the boards and as a ball distributor.

Terrence Shannon Jr. (Senior – Guard)

There might not be another player in the nation as hot as Shannon, who averaged 23.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game for the Fighting Illini. He’s scored at least 26 points in five straight games, all coming in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments, and is quite possibly the nation’s best at attacking the basket. Shannon was suspended earlier in the season and hit a lull when he returned, but the All-American is playing at another level in recent weeks and is willing Illinois on this postseason surge.