Illinois is more than likely heading to the NCAA Tournament.
After, frankly, a hot trash 2018-19 season, Brad Underwood and the Illini have turned it around.
Now he’s being rewarded: the third-year coach was named to the Naismith Coach of the Year Watch List on Friday morning.
Underwood joins Penn State’s Pat Chambers and Rutgers’ Steve Pikiell as the Big Ten coaches on the 15-name list. Well deserving for all three, but with Illinois having the easiest remaining schedule of the three, a strong finish puts the Illini ahead of those two teams.
Obviously there’s still some big names on that list, including Baylor’s Scott Drew (they’ve been No. 1 for a while), SDSU’s Brian Dutcher (they’re undefeated still) and Louisville’s Chris Mack (you think they’d be this good this quick again?).
But, hey, Brad is getting some well-deserved recognition for uprooting his whole system this year.
Let’s keep it up and give Brad the hardware.