After two expected wins over mid-major schools, Illinois moved up to No. 10 in Associated Press Top 25 college basketball rankings this week.
Illinois defeated Jackson State and Arkansas State en route to its new ranking, but the Illini have a chance to move up further this week with a Big East opponent on deck.
The Illini will travel up I-94 to Milwaukee for the Gavitt Tipoff Games to take on the Golden Eagles of Marquette tonight. With Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Kofi Cockburn still out due to his NIL suspension, transfer forward Omar Payne will likely fill the void in the starting lineup.
The last time Illinois and Marquette met was in 1993. They have played 14 games total and Marquette has won four of the last five matchups, two of which occurred when the Illini were ranked.
With Cockburn out, Monday night's matchup becomes a bit more intriguing. Marquette's new head coach Shaka Smart hopes to bring his success from VCU and Texas to the Golden Eagles. Whether it will come right away or take a few years remains to be seen.
Tip-off is at 6 PM CST and the game will air on FS1.