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Illinois moves up to No. 17 in AP poll

The Illini’s perfect week was noticed by the voters.

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

Just as Illinois was tipping off against Purdue on Monday morning for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee, the Illini got news that they’re moving up in the polls.

After back-to-back wins over Nebraska and Michigan last week, Illinois checked in at No. __ in the latest AP poll. Illinois returned to the Top 25 at No. 25 last week after a six-week absence.

Illinois (13-3) entered Monday as the last undefeated team in the Big Ten, without superstar point guard Andre Curbelo playing in any of those six games.

But the Illini have continued to find a way coming out of its late-December COVID pause and haven’t lost in more than a calendar month.

Brad Underwood’s team has another pair of games this week, beginning Monday morning with Purdue. After that, the Illini hit the road for a rematch against Maryland on Friday night, just two weeks after Illinois picked up at 12-point win in Champaign.

Purdue still leads the Big Ten’s five ranked teams at No. 4, but Wisconsin (No. 8) is on its heels after a dominant win at the hands of Ohio State on Thursday. Michigan State, as well as the aforementioned Buckeyes, are also currently ranked.