After winning 28 of 29 against their in-state rivals at the Assembly Hall, the Illini have now lost two straight at home to the Wildcats thanks to five first-half NU threes and 20 points from Reggie Hearn.
WHAT THE WILDCATS SAID
“Needless to say it’s a very good win for us, especially on the road. I thought we played one of our better games this year. I think you have to to beat these guys here.” — coach Bill Carmody
WHAT THE ILLINI SAID
“Obviously, the combination of them playing really well and us not playing really well, we’ve had that happen a couple of games in a row here. I appreciate our guys’ effort. In the second half I thought we played a lot harder.” — coach John Groce
WHAT IT MEANS
When the polls come out Monday, the Illini will not be ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since the week of Nov. 19 just before they won the Maui Invitational.
John Groce will take his fourth crack at winning his 100th career game when the Illini travel to Nebraska in an attempt to end a nine-game Big Ten road losing streak.