College Basketball
Illinois coach Brad Underwood goes shirtless after Sweet 16 win over Iowa State
College Basketball

Illinois coach Brad Underwood goes shirtless after Sweet 16 win over Iowa State

Published Mar. 29, 2024 1:24 p.m. ET

The Fighting Illini faithful are in a state of bliss after No. 3 Illinois beat No. 2 Iowa State in the Sweet 16 on Thursday, but coach Brad Underwood is on an entirely different level.

After the 72-69 victory, Illinois' head coach went shirtless in the locker room in the midst of a water-gun frenzy.

Despite the game getting tight in the final minutes, Illinois never trailed, as Terrence Shannon led the way with a game-high 29 points. He also had a steal and breakaway dunk in the closing seconds and later hit two free throws to help Illinois (29-8) finally put away the second-seeded Cyclones (29-8). 

Shannon was limited to 29 minutes because of foul trouble but remained the Illini’s workhorse. Underwood said Shannon has been a steadying presence all season.


"People who know Terrence know what a great competitor he is," Underwood said. "He was dialed in mentally."

Illinois entered the night with the top offensive efficiency rating in the tournament, but it was its defense that stood out at the outset. The Illini shot only 42% from the field, but they held Iowa State to 39% shooting and forced nine turnovers.

This is Underwood's seventh season at Illinois and the school's fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. That said, it's the Illini's first time advancing to the second weekend of the tournament under Underwood. 

Illinois' run to the Elite Eight comes after winning this season's Big Ten Tournament. It's the first time the Illini have advanced this far in the tournament since 2005

Illinois will face defending champion No. 1 UConn in the Elite Eight on Saturday (6:09 p.m. ET), marking the first time these two teams will meet in March Madness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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