Illinois is entering the second week of the young season even higher than the first.
The Illini jumped up to No. 5 in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll on Monday.
It was a struggling opening week for some of the nation’s top teams, with top-10 teams Villanova, Virginia and Kentucky all falling to unranked foes. Kansas also lost a shootout to No. 1 Gonzaga.
But the Illini, despite a nail-biter against Ohio, pressed all the right buttons.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Illinois had three games in its opening week multi-team event in Champaign. Brad Underwood’s crew made history in its first two routs against North Carolina A&T and Chicago State, becoming the first ranked team in more than 30 years to win its first two games each by at least 55 points.
The wheels started to come off against a much better Ohio team on Friday, but a late three-pointer from Da’Monte Williams and a pair of last-second free throwers from Ayo Dosunmu clinched the two-point win for the Illini (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten).
Illinois’ schedule lightens up in quantity this week, but certainly not in quality.
The Illini get a highly anticipated matchup with Baylor on Wednesday night in the Jimmy V Class in Indianapolis. A nationally televised game, Illinois will have a shot to prove it belong with the blue bloods.
Baylor made a last-second trip to Las Vegas this weekend for a pair of games against Louisiana and Washington. Head coach Scott Drew tested positive for coronavirus last week and it’s unclear if he’ll be on the sidelines on Wednesday.
Illinois is scheduled to add another game for Dec. 5 at State Farm Center as well.