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Illinois Falls to No. 24 in AP Top 25 Poll

Despite the drop, the Illini have a prime opportunity to improve on their position with games against Michigan State and Northwestern this week.

Illinois Basketball Ranking AP Top 25
Photo: IlliniMBB/Twitter

To no surprise, Illinois fell in the AP Top 25 poll this week, landing at No. 24 after a No. 17 ranking last week.

The Illini enter this week on a two-game losing streak after a double-overtime loss to Purdue and a bad loss to Maryland.

WHAT IT MEANS

Illinois’ loss to Maryland has everything to do with their position this week. Despite playing that game without National Player of the Year candidate Kofi Cockburn, the Illini should not have lost by double digits if they planned on moving up or maintaining pace in the poll.

The Illini have struggled at Maryland for the last decade. Their last win in College Park came in 2011. Illinois fans hope that drought ends next season, but for now, the team has a prime opportunity to improve on their position this week. The slate includes a home matchup with No. 10 Michigan State and a road game against in-state rival Northwestern.

Michigan State is coming off an impressive road victory at No. 8 Wisconsin over the weekend, rebounding from a home loss to Northwestern. These two games will not be easy for Illinois, but they will provide a great measuring stick for the rest of the Big Ten season.

Illinois currently occupies third place in the Big Ten standings. A win over the Spartans would move them up to a tie for first place.

Kofi Cockburn’s Status

Kofi Cockburn’s status for Tuesday’s game remains questionable. Illinois struggled mightily on the interior defensively without his massive presence. On the bright side, if Cockburn does indeed miss another game, the Illini play at home where they have been tough to beat. Their only losses at the State Farm Center were fiercely-contested games against Purdue and Arizona.

The Spartans provide Illinois another chance to earn a statement win for its conference and NCAA Tournament seeding down the road.

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