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Illinois guard Luke Goode (10) calls the players together in a NCAA basketball game at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Illinois basketball's slide down the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll released Monday was inevitable. A road loss to an unranked Marquette team basically assured the Illini they wouldn't hold on to the top 10 spot they acquired after the opening week of the season.

Illinois didn't drop entirely out of the poll, though, landing at No. 14 ahead of a 5:30 p.m. Monday tipoff against Cincinnati in the Hall of Fame Classic at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City. The Illini's inclusion in this week's poll marks 23 consecutive weeks as a ranked program that trails only Gonzaga's 98 weeks, Villanova's 43, Baylor's 40 and Houston's 28.

This week's slate of games also creates the opportunity for Illinois to climb back up the AP Top 25. Cincinnati is a top 100 opponent, and a win against the Bearcats — with a subsequent Arkansas victory against Kansas State in the back end of Monday's doubleheader in Kansas City — would set up a Hall of Fame Classic title game for the Illini against the No. 13 Razorbacks.

Beat writer Scott Richey's ballot

1. UCLA

2. Gonzaga

3. Purdue

4. Kansas

5. Texas

6. Duke

7. Baylor

8. Arizona

9. Kentucky

10. Alabama

11. Memphis

12. Villanova

13. Arkansas

14. Seton Hall

15. Brigham Young

16. Illinois

17. St. Bonaventure

18. Houston

19. Xavier

20. Tennessee

21. Auburn

22. Indiana

23. Texas Tech

24. Florida

25. Connecticut

Scott Richey covers college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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