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).


Brad Underwood press conference at Ubben in Champaign on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

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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 until practice tips off.

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Illinois’ four-game tour of Italy has meant playing by international FIBA rules. The extended three-point line is one the Illini had to get used to anyway, with college basketball adopting the same distance. It’s also one that hasn’t proven a problem in Illinois’ pair of blowout wins so far, with the team shooting a combined 28 of 53 (52.8 percent) from beyond the arc.

The number of timeouts per game are different. So is the fact almost all balls out of bounds turn into sideline out of bounds plays. Basketball at the NCAA and NBA level is full of baseline out of bounds action.

The one rule change Illinois coach Brad Underwood was most looking forward to, though, was the 24-second shot clock with a reset at 14 seconds after an offensive rebound. Underwood wants to play fast. Trimming six seconds off the NCAA 30-second shot clock means the Illini have no option but to speed up the pace of play during their Italy trip.

“I know we’re going to have some turnovers based on that just not having familiarity with it,” Underwood said before the team left for Italy. The Illini have committed 35 turnovers in their first two games combined.

“I think that will be something that will really help us understand the urgency and the speed with which you have to play to not waste time,” Underwood continued.

Underwood also brought up the FIBA offensive goaltending rule as one to watch. Basically, almost anything goes. The only limitation is blocking a ball in downward flight toward the rim, but once the ball strikes the rim it’s live again.

“I’m excited to do some goaltending out there,” sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu said with a smile.

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