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).


Illinois guard Trent Frazier (1) and St. Francis' Carlos Tovias (11) in a exhibition game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021.

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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:

Episode 173: What did we learn?

At this point, Illinois' inclusion in just about anything related to the top level of college basketball is a given. Wednesday marked two such occasions ...

— Illinois was ranked at No. 10 in the Ferris Mowers Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll via USA Today. That's one spot better than the Illini's ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 heading into the 2021-22 season.

Illinois was one of three Big Ten teams in the top 10 behind No. 6 Michigan and No. 7 Purdue. The conference had two more ranked teams in No. 17 Ohio State and No. 21 Maryland, while Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa and Rutgers were among other teams receiving votes. Save for Iowa's inclusion, that's almost exactly what the AP voting panel had in regard to the Big Ten.

— Three Illinois players were included in CBS Sports' ranking of the Top 100 And 1 college basketball players heading into the 2021-22 season ...

No. 2 Kofi Cockburn

"Cockburn has a case as the toughest one-on-one matchup — on both ends of the floor — in college basketball." — Matt Norlander

No. 24 Andre Curbelo

"With Ayo Dosunmu gone to the NBA and Adam Miller transferring to LSU, expect Curbelo to enter the starting lineup and become a focal point of the Illinois offense after earning Big Ten All-Freshman and Sixth Man of the Year honors." — David Cobb

No. 88 Trent Frazier

"Frazier (an elite defender) has been a steady contributor over (126) appearances and (108) starts in four seasons at Illinois." — Cobb

— The three Illini were part of a group of 17 players selected from the Big Ten. The others were No. 6 Trevion Williams (Purdue), No. 8 Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana), No. 10 Hunter Dickinson (Michigan), No. 11 E.J. Liddell (Ohio State), No. 22 Eric Ayala (Maryland), No. 23 Jaden Ivey (Purdue), No. 30 Zach Edey (Purdue), No. 41 Ron Harper Jr. (Rutgers), No. 49 Donta Scott (Maryland), No. 57 Keegan Murray (Iowa), No. 59 Fatts Russell (Maryland), No. 74 DeVante' Jones (Michigan), No. 78 Qudus Wahab (Maryland) and No. 81 Caleb Houstan (Michigan).

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

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