The Illini entered the Top Ten after beating Gonzaga Dec. 8, but stood pat after wins against Norfolk State and Eastern Kentucky. Missouri, Illinois' next opponent on the schedule, is slotted at No. 12, raising the stakes in what is already considered one of the biggest games of the year.
With final exams on-going, Illini players will spend Monday away from basketball duties, according to John Groce.
"Tuesday we'll start working some of the game plan and get ready for Saturday's game," he said.
A closer look at the poll…
- Illinois was included on all 65 ballots.
- Mark Berman, of the Roanoke Times, placed the Illini at No. 5, the highest of any pollster.
- Geoff Grammar, of the Albuquerque Journal, had Illinois the lowest of any voter at No. 14.
- For the local flavor, The News-Gazette's Marcus Jackson put Illinois at No. 11 for the second straight week.