Images of 2005-2006 are being rehashed for Illinois fans as the State Farm Center will feature one of the best groups to don the orange and blue in over a decade.
Ranked inside the top-10 to start the season, the Illinois men's basketball team features skill, size, potential, and depth. Illini beat writer Bob Asmussen says the expectations are sky-high for this year's team.
Trent Frazier enters his senior season off two down years from his Big Ten Freshman of the Year campaign. Asmussen says he and junior Giorgi Bezhanashvili, who had a terrific freshman campaign followed by a down sophomore season, need to step up for Illinois to be successful but notes the pressure on them will not be as great as it was in prior years.
Asmussen calls senior Da'Monte Williams the glue-guy for this team. He says Williams brings an unselfish style of play and the defensive leader of the team.
Illinois touts highly rated freshman Adam Miller and Andre Curbelo. Miller has received most of the attention due to his success at Chicago Morgan Park High School but Asmussen says to look for Curbelo to carve out a role with this team over the course of the season.
Illinois hosts NC A&T in each team’s 2020-21 season opener this afternoon (Wednesday) at 1 pm from the State Farm Center as a part of the Illinois multi-team tournament to kick off a COVID altered season. Wright State was set to be among the three other teams in Champaign this weekend, however, COVID has altered their plans and Chicago State takes their place. Illinois battles the Cougars on Thanksgiving Day at 11 am then concludes the tournament with Ohio on Friday at noon.
Illinois takes on second-ranked Baylor on Wednesday, December 2, ninth-ranked Duke on Tuesday, December 8 for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and this year's Braggin' Rights game shifts to Columbia, Missouri on Saturday, December 12 before Big Ten action kicks off on Tuesday, December 15.