We’re 40% of the way through the Big Ten slate, and Illinois is sitting basically at the top.
The Illini have already played the other four teams sitting in the top five in the conference standings, going 2-2 in those games, with one of those coming as a last-second loss on the road to a then-top-five Maryland and in East Lansing. Otherwise, Illinois is perfect so far.
Reminder: the schedule is about to be a gauntlet.
After a road game (and revenge game for them) at Michigan, the Illini welcome Minnesota to Champaign before a four-game streak against the conference’s four ranked teams.
Get through that six game trek, and the final six games aren’t as threatening (@ a good PSU, vs. a bad Nebraska, @ an awful Northwestern). It’s the last three that could get them (vs. Indiana, @ OSU, vs. Iowa), but if this team has something to play for, I wouldn't count them out.
Let’s go over that again.
Next six games: If you’re legit, go 3-3, if not 4-2. Now you’re sitting at 10-4 let’s say.
Win the next three. If you’re legit, you win those games. You’re at 13-4.
Win two of the final three. Finish off at 15-5.
That might do it when it comes to competing with Michigan State, especially if the Illini win their Feb. 11 matchup in Champaign.
But, my opinion means nothing. The Big Ten is tough as hell. What do you think?
MSU will win more games.
simply put, if you look at illinois' remaining schedule and MSU's remaining schedule, MSU has a better chance at having more wins at the end of the season.— Steve Braun (@thumpasaurus1) January 22, 2020
Illinois will not win the Big Ten this season because Michigan State. I hope this tweet ages horribly— Tyler Bryant (@TyBry25) January 22, 2020
A lot of tough upcoming games. And Michigan St is still in the B1G. That being said, they will finish top 5, which is beyond good enough all things considered.— Lazy Headass (@Iazystudent) January 22, 2020
Illinois beat Purdue twice, so the Illini will certainly win it all.
Two road wins already and they cracked Mackey with authority. Why not?— Travis Miller (@JustTMill) January 22, 2020
Honestly, having a hard time figuring out why not. This next stretch of games will go a long way to determining whether we can compete with the upper echelon. Better shooting like last night is paramount to winning.— Kyle Huisinga (@KHuisinga85) January 22, 2020
No shooters, no chance. (AKA Roster Issues)
Probably will not because of three-point shooting issues, but also maybe they have a shot? pic.twitter.com/82t1z7CQmG— Gen. Thoughts (@GeneralThoughts) January 22, 2020
Lack of depth at the 4/5 position when there is foul trouble and missing a true starter at the 3 position. In other words, they are short two puzzle pieces. If they had those, we’d be talking way more than the winning the B1G.— Gene Gorfin (@egorf23) January 22, 2020
Will not because lack of three point shooting— Daniel Schraiber (@DSchraiber) January 22, 2020