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Illinois at No. 25 in first Top 25 poll of season

The first exhibition is just days away.

Illinois v Indiana Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Basketball season is here.

The AP Top 25 dropped its first poll of the season Monday morning, and Illinois found itself at No. 25.

It's Illinois’ first ranking since December, when the Illini were at No. 16. You'll probably remember that Illinois then lost to Missouri, and the wheels sort of fell off for a little bit.

The Illini have high hopes for this season, with Terrence Shannon Jr. and Coleman Hawkins both returning for one more season in Champaign, plus a boatload of new additions in the 2023 class and through the transfer portal.

“We’re obviously older, we’re more mature, [and] we’re physical,” said head coach Brad Underwood recently at Illinois’ media day. “That excites me.”

If you want basketball, you don’t have to wait long. Illinois’ first exhibition is Friday night at State Farm Center vs. Ottawa, but it’s available only on BTN+.