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
14. Seton Hall
15. Brigham Young
17. St. Bonaventure
23. Texas Tech