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This Week in Illini Athletics: Nov. 8-14, 2021

Illinois basketball is finally here.

Illinois v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Welcome to “This Week in Illini Athletics,” a weekly review of the past week of Illini sports and a preview of the week to come.

FOOTBALL (4-6 Overall, 3-4 Big Ten)

Last Week: After jumping out to an early 14-0 lead over #20 Minnesota on Saturday, the Illini didn’t look back. Illinois scored touchdowns on its first two drives and that would prove to be enough; yet another dominant performance from the Illini defense held Minnesota to six points en route to the upset. Minnesota had a late opportunity to tie it and send the game to overtime, but a Kerby Joseph interception sealed Illinois’ second ranked win in three weeks.

The victory was the Illini’s third in the Big Ten this season, marking just the third time in the past decade that Illinois has won three or more Big Ten games.

This Week: The Illini get their second and final bye week before traveling to #22 Iowa on November 20.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL (16-9 Overall, 8-6 Big Ten)

Last Week: The Illini moved into the national rankings at #25 this past week, but they weren’t quite ready to compete with the elite in the Big Ten. Hosting #9 Nebraska on Thursday, Illinois had chances in the second and third sets, holding late four-point leads in each. The Cornhuskers came back in both sets though, completing a convincing sweep of the Illini. Saturday’s match against #11 Minnesota was one the Illini would rather forget. Illinois was competitive in the first set, losing it 25-22 only after a late Minnesota rally. The Golden Gophers dominated the final two sets, however, and the Illini were swept for the second match in a row.

This Week: Illinois has two more matches at Huff Hall this weekend to finish off a four-game homestand. It plays host to Indiana on Friday at 6 p.m. and #7 Ohio State on Sunday at noon.

MEN’S BASKETBALL (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

This Week: The 11th-ranked Illini begin their season with a pair of home games in the non-conference. They host Jackson State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Arkansas State on Friday night at 8.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

This Week: The Illini women also open their season with two games at State Farm Center. North Carolina Central visits Champaign for an 11 a.m. tip on Tuesday, and Illinois finishes the week with a 3 p.m. matchup against Miami (OH).

MEN’S and WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

This Week: The postseason is here as Illinois heads to Iowa City for the NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday.

WRESTLING (0-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)

Last Week: Ten Illini placed at the Michigan State Open on Saturday, including seven in the open (to all classes) division. Justin Cardani (125), Lucas Byrd (133), Christian Kanzler (149), and Luke Luffman (285) all placed third in their respective weight classes.

This Week: Illinois travels to Boone, North Carolina for Appalachian State’s Mountaineer Invitational on Sunday.

MEN’S TENNIS

Last Week: Four Illini played in the Big Ten Singles Championships at Michigan State this weekend, with all four competing in singles and doubles. Junior Siphosothando Montsi’s performance was the highlight, as he won his first three singles matches before bowing out in the semifinals.

This Week: Illinois men’s tennis will return to action in the spring.