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Illinois stays in the AP poll for second straight week

We’re still here!

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Until last Monday, it had been 1,869 days since Illinois cracked the top-25 in the AP poll.

There won’t be any wait again this time.

The Illini were listed at No. 21 in the AP poll on Monday afternoon after extending its Big Ten winning streak to four with a narrow victory over Northwestern in Champaign on Saturday. In the prior week, the Illini strung together wins over Purdue, Wisconsin and Rutgers.

Until this new stretch, Illinois was last ranked on Dec. 1, 2014 after a 6-0 start and a Las Vegas Invitational Championship — but the Illini dropped right out of the poll the following week.

Illinois was ranked No. 24 in the poll last week.

Illinois currently sits in second place in the Big Ten and just one game back of Michigan State. Awaiting the Illini on Tuesday is a chance to get the season sweep over the Boilermakers.

Four other Big Ten teams joined the Illini in this week’s AP poll, Michigan State being the highest at No. 11. Baylor became the seventh team to crack the No. 1 spot this season.