After a disappointing loss to Rutgers and a nearly blown lead at Michigan State, Illinois slipped to No. 15 in Monday’s AP poll.
With just four games remaining in conference play, not only is the top-10 in sight for Illinois, but winning out would lead to at least a share of a Big Ten regular season crown.
It’s been quite the turnaround for a team that spent a half-dozen weeks unranked during non-conference play, but with the team beginning to round into form — despite some shooting struggles and blown leads — Illinois is right where it wants to be.
Speaking of polls, in the projected top-four seeds in the NCAA Tournament field on Saturday, the Illini checked in as the No. 12 overall team (or the last 3-seed in the bracket).
Joe Lunardi of ESPN had Illinois on the 4-line in his latest Bracketology on Friday, but that was before the Illini took care of the Spartans in East Lansing. His field had a matchup with 13-seed Ohio in the Round of 64, and a potential matchup with 1-seed Kansas in the Regional Semifinal.