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Two wins not enough to return Illinois to AP poll

A 2-0 week didn’t pop the #Illini back in.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Two wins weren’t enough to put Illinois back into the Top 25.

Illinois rolled past Notre Dame and Rutgers last week in its two most impressive showings of the young season, but that wasn’t enough for the Illini to show up in the newest poll on Monday.

Brad Underwood’s team was dropped from the rankings after a disappointing start to the season, which included a one-point loss to Marquette, a blown lead against Cincinnati, and a lethargic showing against UT-Rio Grande Valley.

But Illinois began to find its feel from behind-the-arc against the Fighting Irish and Scarlet Knights, and Kofi Cockburn and Alfonso Plummer look to be a lethal scoring duo.

All this without Andre Curbelo, one of the most hyped point guards in the country, as he battles an undisclosed injury.

The Illini face a pair of tough challenges this week if they want to stay in the rankings: Monday night in Iowa City against the Hawkeyes, and then Saturday in a 2019 revenge game against Arizona in Champaign.

In other Big Ten news, Purdue is now the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in history. Boiler up!