College/Prep Sports Reporter

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

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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.

The three-guard lineup of Ayo Dosunmu, Andres Feliz and Trent Frazier is one Brad Underwood likes. It can be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams with all three on the court together. Three point guards means three ball handlers, three players to initiate the offense and three guys that can also slide into a scoring mode off the ball.

But it’s a backcourt trio Underwood started just twice together in the 2018-19 season by primarily bringing Feliz off the bench. The 6-foot-2 guard’s other two starts came when he replaced Frazier against Georgetown because of a concussion and Purdue when Underwood said he felt like Frazier had been pressing in previous games.

Friday’s exhibition game against Lewis featured a Dosunmu-Feliz-Frazier backcourt in the starting lineup along with Giorgi Bezhanisvhili and Kofi Cockburn. Not telling what lineup Underwood will send out for the season opener against Nicholls State — a 7 p.m. Tuesday tipoff at State Farm Center.

“I’ve been all over the place with lineups and looking and experimenting,” Underwood said. “Those are four guys who have been through a lot of the battles, and I threw Kofi in because I wanted to play big. Some things I like about it and some things I don’t. It gives us a starting point, and we can continue to work on those things.”

Frazier was Illinois’ second-leading scorer against Lewis with 13 points mostly on 3 of 5 three-point shooting. Feliz had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Dosunmu struggled, finishing with five points on 1 of 7 shooting to go with four assists and four turnovers.

“I don’t ever have to worry about Ayo,” Underwood said. “Tough shooting night and whatever. I know this. The bigger the game, the better he plays. He’s been a rock.”

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