The best possible weekend for the Illinois basketball program

Entering this past weekend, Illinois basketball had two goals in mind. Both of those goals were achieved with flying colors.
Illinois v Maryland
Illinois v Maryland / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

Illinois basketball needed a big-time slip-up by the Purdue Boilermakers, and we got that over the weekend.

Coming into the weekend, I had a couple of goals for the Illini. The first and most obvious goal was to beat Maryland in College Park finally.

Illinois had dropped five straight on the road against the Terrapins. They have been a thorn in our side for too long. Thankfully, the Illini emerged victorious and moved to 19-6 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten.

Checking off goal one was big for Illinois. I want another Big Ten regular season title, though. To accomplish that, we needed Purdue to drop a game. They played Ohio State on Sunday, and goal two for the Illini was to have the Buckeyes take down the Boilermakers.

I had Ohio State as a potential slip-up game for Purdue. With a new coach now at the helm in Columbus, and this being a game at home, I thought the Buckeyes had a chance to shock the world. The result was a shock to most. Ohio State took down the No. 2 ranked Purdue Boilermakers.

What the loss by Purdue did for Illinois was put us in the driver’s season. That loss puts us at 1.5 games back of Purdue for the top of the Big Ten. Purdue has five games left and Illinois has six games remaining. If the Illini win out, we will win at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title. We currently control our own destiny.

Winning the Big Ten regular season outright is a realistic possibility for the Illinois basketball team

Now that the Illini have a shot to win a share of the Big Ten regular season, I think it is fair to see what the path could be to win the conference outright.

I think Illinois still has to win out. Asking Purdue to lose three out of the final five games is tough, considering they have lost three games all season. So, winning out for the Illini is a must.

For the Illini to secure a share of the Big Ten regular season title, we have to win out, which includes a victory over the Boilermakers. To win the conference outright, Purdue has to drop one other game.

I mentioned this in an article late last week, in addition to Ohio State being a team to keep an eye on, I thought the other two upset options would be Michigan State and Wisconsin. Sadly, both of those games are in West Lafayette. I think these two teams give Purdue the biggest headaches, though.

It is exciting to know that if Illinois wins the final six games, we secure a share of the Big Ten regular season title. That would be the second regular season championship in three seasons, which is something that hasn’t happened since our national championship run in the mid-2000s. Illinois basketball couldn't have asked for a better weekend.

Next. 5 big observations from the Illinois basketball win over Maryland. 5 big observations from the Illinois basketball win over Maryland. dark