Illinois Basketball: Latest AP Top 25 strengthens the Illini schedule

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 20: Terrence Shannon Jr. #0, RJ Melendez #15 and Coleman Hawkins #33 of the Illinois Fighting Illini talk on the court in the first half of the championship game of the Continental Tire Main Event basketball tournament against the Virginia Cavaliers at T-Mobile Arena on November 20, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cavaliers defeated the Fighting Illini 70-61. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 20: Terrence Shannon Jr. #0, RJ Melendez #15 and Coleman Hawkins #33 of the Illinois Fighting Illini talk on the court in the first half of the championship game of the Continental Tire Main Event basketball tournament against the Virginia Cavaliers at T-Mobile Arena on November 20, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Cavaliers defeated the Fighting Illini 70-61. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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A new AP Top 25 poll has been released, and the Illinois basketball team still finds themselves in the top 20.

The Illini just had one game this past week and that was against DI newcomer, Lindenwood. The Lions weren’t much of a match for the Orange and Blue, as Illinois would take a 24-point lead by halftime and never look back. Lindenwood ended up falling to the Illini, 92-59.

While this was a win and Illinois would finish the week 1-0, Lindenwood isn’t a good program. So, I wasn’t expecting much of a move this week. That ended up being the case, as the Illini didn’t move a single spot. We ended the week ranked No. 16 in the nation and maintained that ranking this week.

As I said, Illinois not moving in the AP Top 25 doesn’t come as a surprise. There was a lot of movement overall, though. Five teams actually dropped below the Illini that were ranked ahead of us last week, which means there were five teams that jumped Illinois in the rankings as well.

The Illinois basketball schedule just got a lot harder for the 2022-23 season.

Where the Illini are ranked in the new AP Top 25 isn’t what I am looking at this week. What I am looking at the most is Illinois’ schedule and the tough road we have already been on and what lies ahead.

Illinois has already knocked off UCLA, who is now ranked No. 21 in the country. The only loss we have on the schedule right now is Virginia. They moved up two more spots to No. 3 in the nation. We should have won that game too.

Looking ahead, the Illini now have eight games on the schedule against ranked opponents. The next ranked opponent is at No. 22 Maryland on December 2. The Terrapins moved up one spot this week.


No. 2 Texas follows Maryland on the Illinois schedule. The Illini take on Texas on December 6. The Longhorns moved up two spots this week. These two games will be good tests for the Illini.

Michigan State ended up dropping eight spots to No. 20 in the country in the newest AP Top 25. Illinois has them on January 13 at the State Farm Center.

On January 19, the Illini square up against Indiana in the first of two matchups. The Hoosiers moved up one spot this week to No. 10 in the country. Illinois’ second game against Indiana is on February 18.

After the January 19 game against the Hoosiers, Illinois then welcomes in Ohio State. The Buckeyes are a newly ranked team this week at No. 25. We play Ohio State twice this season.

Lastly, the final game of the season is on the road at Purdue. Entering this past week, the Boilermakers were ranked No. 24 in the country. They ended up taking down Duke and Gonzaga, and the AP Top 25 decided to move Purdue to No. 5 in the country. A 19-spot jump.

  • #22 Maryland – December 2 (Away)
  • #2 Texas – December 6 (Neutral)
  • #20 Michigan State – January 13 (Home)
  • #10 Indiana – January 19 (Home) & February 18 (Away)
  • #25 Ohio State – January 24 (Home) & February 26 (Away)
  • #5 Purdue – March 5 (Away)

That is one tough road ahead. I can’t wait to see what this Illinois basketball team can do with this schedule. This should be an exciting season.

Next. 5 observations from the Illini win over Lindenwood. dark