Two weeks ago the Illini cracked a 1,869 day drought from the AP top-25 poll.
Then the Illini made the poll again in back-to-back years for the first time in seven years.
People weren’t sold.
Now? Probably sold.
Illinois was listed at No. 19 in the AP poll on Monday afternoon after extending the longest winning streak in the Big Ten to six with an Ayo Dosunmu dagger at Michigan on Saturday afternoon. That win capped a week that included two road wins after the Illini blew out Purdue in West Lafayette on Tuesday night.
Over the streak, the Illini have taken care of Wisconsin, Rutgers, Northwestern, Purdue (twice) and Michigan.
Illinois became the first Big Ten team to win at Purdue, Michigan and Wisconsin since the Illini’s 2004-05 national championship runners-up squad.
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. 21 in the poll last week after cracking it at No. 24.
Michigan State and Illinois are currently tied atop the Big Ten. Sparty comes to Champaign on Feb. 11.
Minnesota travels to Illinois this Thursday for the teams’ first matchup of the year. The Golden Gophers lost to Michigan State on Sunday afternoon.
Five other Big Ten teams joined the Illini in this week’s AP poll, Michigan State being the highest at No. 14. Baylor stayed put at No. 1, the seventh team to crack the top spot this season.