2020-21 Illinois Fighting Illini- Detailed Team Preview

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Today is a new day, that means there is another team preview coming your way. Yesterday I took a drive down south and looked inside of the 2020-21 Florida Gators. Today we move back to the mid-west with the team in Champaign, Illinois. The Illinois Fighting Illini preview is on tap.

2019-20 Illinois Season Recap

Credit: Craig Pessman / Illinois Athletics

The 2019-2020 season for Illinois started on a pretty high note. In the first 10 games for the Fighting Illini, they turned in a record of 7-3. One of those losses coming to a top three Maryland team at the time. Illinois lost that game 59-58. The very next game, they played another top 5 team, which was the Michigan Wolverines. Illinois came out with a victory in that one with a score of 71-62.

The January Surge

College basketball starts their conference slate of games in January, and that is when Illinois really started to come alive. The trio of Ayo Dosunmu, Kofi Cockburn, and Trent Frazier in the starting lineup with help from players like Alan Griffin and Andres Feliz off the bench led to seven straight wins in January. Illinois’s record after the first month of conference games was 16-5 overall.

There were plenty of ups and downs to end the year for Brad Underwood’s squad, but they finished the year 21-10 (13-7), which was good for fourth in the Big Ten.

The Big Players in 2019-20

The point forward duo of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn led the team in offensive scoring. Dosunmu averaged 16.5 PPG, while Cockburn averaged a near double-double with 13 PPG and 9 RPG.

What players are gone, and what players are back in the blue and orange? That is next.

2020-21 Illinois Preview

Credit: Getty Images

Like every team, we always see players leave teams for many different reasons. Some of Illinois’ key departures are guard Allen Griffin (transfer) and Andres Feliz (graduated). But with these guys leaving the program, there were also some massive returns for the Fighting Illini. The off-season’s biggest news for Illinois fans was the two announcements that Ayo Dosunmu would be returning for his junior season, and the big man, Kofi Cockburn, would come back for his sophomore season.

Brad Underwood also brings in a stellar 2020 recruiting class. His 2020 class consists of two four stars and two-three stars. That is good for a 17th ranked recruiting class in the country. Like I talked about in previous articles, having that older experienced talent and having a top 30 recruiting class, that is a recipe for success. Look for Illinois to be a top ten team in the country, have their name at the top of the Big Ten, and a possible final four appearance.

2020-21 Impact Players

Illinois is bringing back some great talent, and also brings in some freshman who can perform. Here are some of the players that could impact play the most.

  • Trent Frazier, Sr
  • Ayo Dosunmu, Jr
  • Kofi Cockburn, So
  • Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Jr
  • Adam Miller, Fr

2020-21 Projected Starting Lineup

G: Adam Miller, 6-3

G: Ayo Dosunmu, 6-5

G: Da’Monte Williams, 6-3

F: Giorgi Bezhanishvili, 6-9

C: Kofi Cockburn, 7-0

That just about wraps up the second installment of the team previews that I will be putting out here on Overtime Heroics. If you want more up to date, college basketball content, don’t forget to go follow me on my Twitter account, @worldofcollege1.

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My name is Jacob Heid and I am currently pursuing a Journalism degree from Southern Illinois university. I have been at Overtime Heroics for about a year.