It was a turbulent week for the Illinois basketball program, but we are still rising in the AP Top 25.
Despite being a man down, Illinois managed to take care of business against the Knights, 104-71. This was a big win for a program that is trying to find a groove now that the lineup had a bit of a shakeup.
With the win over Fairleigh Dickinson, Illinois has now moved up two spots in the latest AP Top 25, now ranked No. 9 in the country. The two teams the Illini passed in the rankings were Arizona, who is now 10-3 and moved from No. 4 to No. 10. Florida Atlantic also lost a bad game, moving them to 10-3 and No. 17 in the nation after dropping seven spots.
Illinois basketball has a measure stick week coming up for the 2023-24 season
On paper, things are great for the Illini. We are now in the top 10 for the first time since the week of November 15, 2021. That is how special this season has been so far.
But with a new lineup in play, and the Big Ten season upon us, it is proving grounds time. In the coming week, we will see what this Illinois basketball program is made of.
On Tuesday night, the Illini welcome Northwestern. The Wildcats are tough and have three votes to be in the latest AP Top 25. Beating Northwestern won’t be easy.
Illinois then heads to West Lafayette to take on Purdue. The No. 1 ranked Boilermakers have beaten Gonzaga, Tennessee, Marquette, and Arizona this season. Their only blemish is in overtime against Northwestern.
I would love to see Illinois go 2-0 this week. Honestly, with what has gone on in the last few days, I would be happy with beating the Wildcats and keeping the game close against Purdue. Let’s see what we look like against high-quality DI programs. This week will be a measuring stick to see where we are at as a program.