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Illinois slips to No. 18 in latest AP Poll

Two more opportunities this week to get hot.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Rutgers Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

After a smackdown of Minnesota last Tuesday, the Illini lost a top-20 matchup on the road with now No. 11 Rutgers on Sunday. Illinois checks in at No. 18 in the most recent AP Poll released on Monday morning.

The Illini debuted in the top 5, but have slowly dipped in the rankings each of the past three weeks with losses to No. 2 Baylor, No. 14 Missouri and Rutgers.

Fortunately for the orange and blue, the schedule lightens up in the coming weeks with seven of their next eight games against unranked opponents.

Illinois will travel to Penn State on Wednesday for a 5:30 showdown with the 3-2 Nittany Lions, and then return home the day after Christmas to host a 5-2 Indiana squad at 3:00.