Illinois Basketball: Illini near top of Big-Ten preseason rankings

CHAMPAIGN, IL - MARCH 4: Illinois Fighting Illini fans from the Orange Krush try to distract Glenn Robinson III #1 of the Michigan Wolverines during the game at State Farm Center on March 4, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois. Michigan defeated Illinois 84-53. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHAMPAIGN, IL - MARCH 4: Illinois Fighting Illini fans from the Orange Krush try to distract Glenn Robinson III #1 of the Michigan Wolverines during the game at State Farm Center on March 4, 2014 in Champaign, Illinois. Michigan defeated Illinois 84-53. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Illinois basketball team received two different rankings by college basketball analysts this week.

College basketball analysts Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and Andy Katz of the Big Ten Network both recently released their 2020-21 Big Ten preseason rankings.

Katz broke down his Big Ten preseason rankings on the Big Ten Network Monday.  He has the Illini sitting atop the conference in first place.

"“If I’ve got two of the top ten returning players in college basketball from the same team—Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn— how can I not have them first?,” the BTN analyst gives his explanation."

Katz also released his full preseason rankings on Twitter Monday.


Rothstein, however, did not give the Illini as much love in his preseason preview.  The Illini came in at third place in his rankings, following No. 1 Iowa and No. 2 Wisconsin.

Despite the unfavorable ranking, Rothstein did have some positive things to say regarding head coach Brad Underwood’s squad.

When answering the question, “Is the Illini hype warranted?” Rothstein answers with the following.

"“Without question.”  Rothstein further elaborates, “The decisions of both Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn to return to school next season reiterates Illinois’ overall ceiling, but it’s important to remember that this team is about more than just their two potential All-Americans.”"

Rothstein then goes on to compliment senior guards Trent Frazier and Damonte Williams’ defensive abilities.


On top of that, Rothstein released his All Big-Ten first-team predictions, which included Illini star guard Ayo Dosunmu.  Illinois’ dominant big man and reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Kofi Cockburn, was left off of the team.

Next. Projected lineup if Jordan Nesbitt picks the Illini. dark

The Illini will look to back up Katz’s prediction with what could potentially be their best team since their 2005 national championship team.