Illinois Basketball: 5 Games Determine If Illini Are Contenders

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Illinois Basketball
Feb 13, 2013; Champaign, IL, USA; A Illinois Fighting Illini cheerleader megaphone on the court before the game between the Purdue Boilermakers and the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports /

There is no question that the Illinois basketball team needs to get back to the NCAA Tournament this season.

The Illinois Fighting Illini fans haven’t seen this big of a postseason drought since the late 1970’s.  That is how prestigious this program has become.

Illinois starts the season off with some games that should be pretty winnable.  Southeast Missouri State shouldn’t be a problem for the Illini.

Then the next two games are pretty simple as well.

But, usually, throughout a season Illinois plays certain games that will let fans and media know if this team is a contender or pretender.

Illinois has a few of those games this season as well.

I am excited to see the Illini take the court to see what a healthy program can do in Champaign.  They have the talent to get back to the postseason and I want to see that talent in action.

This Illinois basketball team is going to have to go through a tough Big Ten Conference as well.  There are some games in there that will test whether or not this team is for real.

Illinois has a chance at getting this program back on track this season.  Here are the five games that will decide if they are contenders or pretenders.