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Daily Digest | Report: Illini show interest in NC State transfer; Underwood on Cockburn, Hawkins


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Illinois coach Brad Underwood appeared on The Field of 68’s live stream show (watch above) from the Final Four in New Orleans. It was his first media appearance since returning from a second-round NCAA Tournament loss to Houston two weeks ago.

  • Here are a few key quotes from Underwood.

On NCAA Tournament loss/season: “I think any time you win a championship, it’s really hard to do. We’re never going to give that back. We’ve won the most Big Ten games the last three years. And, yet, it was a different year for me, for our team and our program. We had 68 total missed games by starters or top reserves. I haven’t had that in my 35 years. It was a tribute to our guys, our togetherness, our connectivity.

“We go into March, we get a Houston team who I’m still trying to figure out how they’re a five seed. They were 2 in KenPom. They’re terrific, and we were not healthy. That’s not to make an excuse, but we were not healthy. Jacob Grandison’s out with a separated shoulder. We were a shell of ourselves. We were a really good shooting team and didn’t shoot it. Trent Frazier had pinkeye and an infection. With those two out, we were not whole, and Houston whupped us.

“But, yeah, [the season was] very satisfying. I feel great about it. I feel great about the direction we’re going. Our time will come. You just keep getting back to this tournament and anything can happen, and that’s exciting.”

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