Good Morning, Illini Nation: Underwood enjoying the ride

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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 and college basketball at large:

If you've read any story, watched any video or checked out either of Illinois' first two NCAA tournament games, you can tell the Illini are enjoying themselves along the way.

So is Brad Underwood.

"There's no doubt," the Illinois coach said. "I'm having a ball. This group has kept me young. This group has taken me along for an unbelievable ride all year long. I've said it. I've never had more fun coaching a team than this group. ... They're funny. They make me laugh. And they're as competitive as any team I've been around.

"I love what this team is about. I'm excited about the fact we just keep getting in tournaments. It's a streak that we've got to keep working toward, but this group has achieved a great deal."