Illinois just can’t seem to get over the hump.
The Fighting Illini dropped to No. 14 in the AP Top 25 poll on Monday after a 1-1 week with a thrilling overtime loss at Northwestern and then scraping past Indiana at home on Saturday. Illinois spent last week at No. 10.
Brad Underwood’s team has gotten as high as No. 9 this season; that was short-lived, however, as the Illini then fell to then-No. 1 Purdue.
It’s been a work in progress to get Terrence Shannon Jr. back in the swing of things, but he started to show some spark toward the end of Saturday’s game vs. the Hoosiers. Shannon looking like the player he was prior to the suspension could keep Illinois (15-5, 6-3 Big Ten) in the race for a Big Ten title entering early March, when the Illini play both Wisconsin and Purdue — the two teams in front of them — in a four-day stretch.
As Robbie Hummel likes to say, life in the Big Ten is never easy. Illinois will head to Columbus for a matchup with OSU on Tuesday night (that game is ONLY on Peacock), before a home match with Fred Hoiberg’s surprisingly good Huskers on Sunday.