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Brad Underwood was not happy with his players on Wednesday night. Illinois lost to Northwestern by 13 and he went absolutely ballistic.
The Fighting Illini, which began the year as the No. 23-ranked team in the preseason AP Poll, is 9-5 through its first 14 games. They beat sixth-ranked Texas early in December and have showed the potential to make a real push for a national title come March.
However, Illinois also lost to Virginia by nine, Penn State by 15 and Missouri by 22 before losing to Chicago’s Big Ten team. The box score makes the most recent loss even worse.
The Illini out-shot the Wildcats from the field but went 8-of-28 from beyond the arc, lost the turnover battle by seven, and committed 12 more personal fouls than their opponents. Northwestern shot 40 free throws and hit 80%, while Illinois took just 10 and hit six.
Late in the first half, as the former was in the double bonus and down by six before the break, Underwood lost his mind. He called his team into the huddle and went down the line.
Brad Underwood let his players have it.
The sixth-year head coach chewed his team out collectively, before he turned his focus directly to Terrence Shannon Jr., who transferred into the program during the offseason from Texas Tech. Underwood has been extremely hard on his senior guard throughout the year and Wednesday was no exception.
Shannon Jr. got an earful from his coach, literally, as he eventually turned his head to the side.
Underwood has found success at Illinois in last three seasons and won at least 20 games in all three years, but has not advanced beyond the second round of the NCAA Tournament— despite earning the No. 1 and No. 4 seeds in each of the last two years. While that is certainly not the only barometer for success, it is a glaring issue.
And even though Northwestern is off to a strong start this season, a loss to the Wildcats is another negative mark. Underwood was not happy with his players on Wednesday night.
Here is what he said to the media after the game: