Merry Christmas, Illini nation.
For the first time in more than two seasons, Illinois is closing in on the top-10 of the Associated Press top 25.
The Illini checked in Monday at No. 11, up two from No. 13 last week.
It was a slow week for the Illini, but an impactful one: a 97-73 win over Missouri to re-gain Braggin’ Rights and make a statement heading into the holiday weekend.
Purdue remains the No. 1 team in the nation, now just two weeks out from the first showdown of the season with Illinois.
Illinois will take it easy to close out non-conference play this week. It’s a Friday night contest with Fairleigh Dickinson, as the Illini hope the Knights’ luck has run out and they don't have another Big Ten upset in them.
If all goes well, Illinois should head into 2024 in the top-10, with matchups looming vs. Northwestern and Purdue.