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Brad’s right: Illinois isn’t rebuilding anymore

Thank you for saying it out loud.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

“Our program is at a place where we’re not — we’re never rebuilding. Anybody who uses that word, I’m not going to talk to you anymore. We’re not rebuilding, we’re reloading.” — Brad Underwood

There’s something about me saying it in an article for The Champaign Room.

And there’s something about Brad Underwood saying it in mid-June.

Can you blame him?

I 100% believe that's the best mindset to have in the world. After the three seasons that Illinois has put together since 2019, I would take the Illini against just about anyone all year.

It’s also a bit cocky.

But, again, can you blame him?

Come at me with the “IlLiNoIs HaSn’T wOn AnYtHiNg.” Do it. Comment it. I dare you.

But the resume Illinois has put up now for a generation of college players — a generation in this case is 3-4 years — has allowed anyone associated with the program to be a bit cocky.

Compare like 2012-19 with 2019-22. Put yourself in those two mindsets for a second. There were an incomparable amount of disappointing games in that first period, and just a handful in that second grouping. By disappointing games, I’m talking about games that just stick out in your mind like a sore.

I don’t think I can count the number in that first grouping, but in the second, a couple just pop up: Loyola, Marquette, Houston. I’m missing a few, but compare that to the ambivalence I probably felt in that ‘12-’19 period because we expected those disappointing results. It’s certainly not the same.

It’s mid-June. There are months and months to talk about Matthew Mayer and the Skyylini and how they’re going to fit, but I always love cocky Brad Underwood.

And if he wants to spend the summer washing that bad Cougar taste out of our mouth by reminding us that Illinois is legit — and will stay legit for the foreseeable future — then let’s do it.

Illinois isn't rebuilding anymore.

And anyone who says they are.... well, unlike Brad, I’ll still talk to you. :)