VIDEO: Illinois Coach Brad Underwood After 74-66 Win At Northwestern

Matthew Stevens

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Illinois head coach Brad Underwood discusses with media the Illini's 74-66 victory at Northwestern on Feb. 27.

Underwood was named earlier this week as one of the 15 finalist for the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year. Ten semifinalists will be announced on March 6, and the finalists will be revealed on March 18. The winner of the 2020 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s Coach of the Year will be announced on April 5 at the Naismith Awards Brunch in Atlanta. 

Illini Season Highlights in Year Three of Underwood Era 

  • Has made the largest turnaround so far this season (+9.0) among schools from six major conferences. 
  • Reached as high as 20th nationally in ratings on Feb. 1, the best ranking for the program since the end of the 2011 season. 
  • Ranked in Associated Press Top 25 for five straight weeks from Jan. 13-Feb. 10, marking Illinois’ longest streak in the AP poll since 2012-13.
  • Equaled last year’s win total on Jan. 11 and matched last season’s B1G win total just nine games into conference play.
  • Currently in third in the nation’s toughest conference, vying for its first top-five Big Ten finish since 2011. 
  • Has secured its most Big Ten wins since 2010, with four games on the conference schedule remaining. 
  • Leads the Big Ten in scoring defense during league play, allowing 62.6 ppg. • Five Quad 1 wins, tied for 18th nationally. 
  • One of 10 teams with at least four Quad 1 road victories, and the only team in the country with four road wins over teams ranked in the top-40 of the NET. 
  • Won seven straight Big Ten games from Jan. 5-30, marking the program’s longest conference winning streak in 15 years. 
  • Recorded first win over a top-5 team since 2013 and a first road win over top-10 Big Ten team since 2008.