Good Morning, Illini Nation: Road trippin'

Sep. 9—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:

Illinois guards Terrence Shannon Jr. and Justin Harmon made the 6 1/2-hour drive to Lawrence, Kan., on Friday to watch the Illini football team face Kansas. The seats at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium came courtesy of tickets from preseason All-American defensive tackle Johnny Newton, who put the hoops duo on his pass list.

Shannon, of course, has another connection in Lawrence. Former Texas Tech teammate Kevin McCullar is on the KU basketball roster. The two played three years together in Lubbock, Texas, before transferring ahead of the 2022-23 season. They got to match up in last year's secret scrimmage and will face off again Oct. 29 in the charity exhibition game between Illinois and Kansas.

That game also drew Illinois coach Brad Underwood to Lawrence on Friday to promote it alongside Kansas coach Bill Self. Underwood stopped by some Illini tailgates before Friday night's game and then appeared on Kansas radio with Self where he compared Jayhawks quarterback Jalon Daniels to Lamar Jackson. Which was fitting given Daniels racked up more than 300 yards of total offense and gave the Illini fits with his scrambling ability.