Loss to Michigan State drops Illinois basketball in the latest AP Top 25

It was an ugly finish to the game on Saturday, and the Illinois basketball falling to Michigan State enabled us to fall in the latest AP Top 25.
Illinois v Michigan State
Illinois v Michigan State / Rey Del Rio/GettyImages

It was a pretty rough week for the Illinois basketball team, and the AP Top 25 reflects the speedbumps.

Coming into the week, the Illini found ourselves ranked No. 10 in the country. There was only one game on the schedule, and that was Michigan State on Saturday in East Lansing.

Illinois stumbled in the game prior against Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers managed to take us into overtime in Champaign. Thankfully, that game resulted in a victory. I can’t say the same for the game against the Spartans, though.

At times, it looked like the Illini could take Michigan State and make it a season sweep over the Fighting Tom Izzo’s. With under seven minutes to go in the game, Illinois had a 72-64 lead. That is when everything came to a halt.

Illinois scored eight more points in the game while Michigan State was able to put up 22 points in the final 6:32 of the game. It was a rough end to an 88-80 loss by the Illini.

That lone game and loss for the week dropped Illinois in the latest AP Top 25. The Illini went from No. 10 in the country down to No. 14, which is a four-spot.

Illinois basketball should have a nice get-right week with some bottom-tier Big Ten teams on the schedule

The Michigan State loss was rough, but at least it was on the road. Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy, and Illinois needs to protect our home court.

This week should be a bit easier. Illinois welcomes in a bad Michigan program on Tuesday. The Wolverines are last in the conference and sit with an 8-16 record overall. Beating the Wolverines is a must and a good way to get things back on track.

Following the game in Champaign against Michigan, Illinois travels to Maryland. The Terrapins aren’t very good, as they are third-to-last in the Big Ten and boast a 13-11 record overall. The one caveat to this game is the fact Maryland beat Illinois in Champaign just weeks ago. So, they clearly have our number in some form or fashion.

Regardless, Illinois’ upcoming week features two of the bottom three teams in the Big Ten. We should be able to come away from this two-game stretch undefeated and move to 19-6 overall and 10-4 in conference play. That should help secure the double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament as well.

Next. 5 huge questions for the Illinois basketball team against Michigan. 5 huge questions for the Illinois basketball team against Michigan. dark