Welcome to “Good Morning, Illini Nation,” your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He will offer information on Brad Underwood’s team every morning:
Bracketology, like everything in college basketball these days, is a year-round endeavor. I’m pretty sure ESPN’s Joe Lunardi was updating his projections for the 2022 NCAA Tournament during the coming and going of the offseason to keep up with the ever-changing nature of rosters in the transfer portal era.
The 2021-22 college basketball season kicked off last week with the Bracket Matrix debut offering – a composite of 45 different bracket projections. Illinois is ranked number 3 on the first pass. The Illini are as high as a # 1 seed by Bart Torvik’s T-Ranketology and as low as a College Sports Madness # 7 seed. (I’m more of a Torvik believer).
Here’s a look at some of the first round clashes. Because why wouldn’t you think about that sort of thing about four months away from Selection Sunday?
– Lunardi has Illinois as the No. 3 seed against Furman No. 14 in the first round. The Paladins, coached by Bob Richey (no connection?), Just won an overtime game at Louisville on Friday, which was the Cardinals’ first home loss in November since 1972.
– Jerry Palm at CBS Sports in Illinois as the No. 4 seed with a first round clash against the No. 13 seed UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos are a legitimate contender for the Big West title and boast of having Amadou Sow, Illini’s sole target, in the center. The Bamako, Mali native collected 25 points in UCSB’s season opener win over San Francisco State.
– The folks at SB Nation’s Blogging the Bracket see Illinois as the second seed right now and have the Illini pitted against Yale in the first round. That’s a big deal considering the Ivy League is playing basketball this season. The conference itself has chosen not to participate in the 2020-21 season due to concerns over COVID-19.
– The best thing about Kerry Miller’s first bracketology screening for Bleacher Report? He has the No. 3 seeded Illinois against No. 14 Colgate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Illini will know this trip since he went on Sunday afternoon to face Marquette this evening. Colgate, if you remember, was the darling of the NET in 2020-21 and actually led Arkansas to the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament (as a No.14 seed).