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Good Morning, Illini Nation: Shirtless celebrations

May 18—Big Ten expansion isn't just coming with a West Coast contingent pushing the league to 18 teams. The group of Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington constitutes a rather impressive addition. The decision to go from 14 teams to 18 and stretch coast-to-coast might have been fueled by football, but the Big Ten is picking up some heavy hitters on the basketball court, too.

The coaching change at USC, with Andy Enfield leaving for SMU and Eric Musselman leaving Arkansas to return to the Pacific Time Zone, also brings a different kind of challenger to the Big Ten.

Brad Underwood cornered the market on shirtless celebrations by Big Ten coaches during the 2023-24 season. First was the cold tub photo during the Big Ten tournament. Then the super soaker war in the NCAA tournament.

Challenging for that title in 2024-25 will be Musselman, who has taken shirtless celebrations to another level in his time at Nevada and Arkansas.

Here's one from Nevada winning the Mountain West Conference regular season title in 2019:

Plus one from an upset of No. 1 Auburn in 2022:

And one from Arkansas beating Kansas in the 2023 NCAA tournament:

But what does Underwood think about a challenger to his shirtless throne?

"He can have it; he can have that title," the Illinois coach joked. "That one's all his. At least I did it in the locker room. I didn't go stand on the scorer's table. It was motivation, again, by my daughters to get back started working out and maybe do a few abs with Fletch and try to not embarrass the family name anymore."