Just imagine if Illinois beat Purdue on Friday night at Mackey. Could’ve been in the top-four, which is pretty cool this point in the season.
But the Illini’s comeback effort fell short in a 83-78 loss, and now Illinois sits at No. 10 in the AP top 25 released on Monday. They were at No. 9 last week.
Some of Illinois’ marquee early-season games are looking worse, by the way. Florida Atlantic and Marquette are struggling, both teams losing over the weekend to unranked foes (Charlotte and Seton Hall, respectively).
Still, a lot of time and opportunity for the Illini to build up a resume for the NCAA Tournament, and it starts this week when Tom Izzo and Sparty visit Champaign on Thursday night.
Seventeen more Big Ten games on the schedule. It’s go time.