College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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Roster churn has continued this offseason for Brad Underwood’s Illinois men’s basketball program with four scholarship players and a walk-on entering the transfer portal after the end of the 2022-23 season that saw the Illini finish with a 20-13 record.

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Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s team:

With the NCAA tournament on the horizon, you’ll begin to hear a lot of discussion about Quad I through Quad IV wins and losses. (If you haven’t already). It’s become a key talking point during the college basketball season since the advent of the NET rankings, and it’s a factor when it comes to both earning an at-large NCAA tournament bid and then the tournament seeding.

Illinois enters the Big Ten tournament with just a 2-10 record in Quad I games this season. And those victories — on neutral sites against UCLA and Texas — came an awfully long time ago. The Illini’s record in the first two quadrants is better at 9-11 but still not terrific. Illinois isn’t on the NCAA tournament bubble, but it’s closer to on the bubble than securely off it.

“A lot of it comes down to who you played and where you played them,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “It’s unique. This year I think we had one Quad I home game. It’s just the way it fell with the scheduling. We didn’t get some of those teams at home. We had to go on the road. That’s one of the challenges that you have when you play an imbalanced schedule. The one we had against Indiana we didn’t play very well, and we got beat.”

Illinois wound up with four Quad I opportunities on a neutral court and went 2-2 with losses to Virginia and Missouri. There were also seven Quad I opportunities on the road. They were all losses.

But how does Illinois fare among Big Ten teams when it comes to wins in the first two quadrants? That’s an important NCAA tournament metric. And here’s the list with overall record in the first two quadrants listed first and Quad I only in parentheses:

  • Purdue 16-5 (9-4)
  • Maryland 8-11 (3-9)
  • Indiana 11-10 (5-8)
  • Michigan State 12-10 (6-9)
  • Illinois 9-11 (2-10)
  • Iowa 13-9 (6-7)
  • Northwestern 11-10 (7-5)
  • Rutgers 9-10 (5-6)
  • Michigan 8-13 (3-11)
  • Penn State 9-11 (5-6)
  • Ohio State 7-16 (2-12)
  • Wisconsin 11-12 (6-7)
  • Nebraska 7-15 (4-10)
  • Minnesota 2-18 (1-10)

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).