Illini ranked No. 3 in AP Poll ahead of Big Ten Tournament


(WCIA) — Illinois basketball takes their highest ranking of the year, coming into the week at No. 3 in the AP Top-25 poll. After beating Michigan and Ohio State last week, the Illini were able to pass the crowned Big Ten Champions after Michigan drops to No.4.

It’s up for debate wether illinois should get a share of the regular season title–the team certainly thinks so. The Illini have made also it clear that they’re chasing bigger rings heading into the postseason.

“Our goal is to win a Big Ten Championship and a National Championship,” says Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu. “It’s easier to say it before the season, but now actually being in these battles, playing damn near every team in the country, we feel like we have a chance to win a national championship and win a big ten championship, so we’re definitely in that mindset now–it’s give it all you got. We want all the rings, I believe it’s four rings left to get and we want them all. “

Illinois heads to the big ten tournament this week, with a No. 2 seed, and that’s still a lot to celebrate. They haven’t been seeded this high since 2009. In just four seasons, head coach Brad Underwood has brought Illinois back to the national stage, after suffering the most losses in program history back in 2019. For seniors like Da’monte Williams, the chance to be legitimate title contenders means all that and more.

“We’ve been through some stuff my whole four years here,” says Williams. “And just to see all that hard work paying off. And just to see us win, we all love to win, so we come together even more, but we ‘aint finished.”

Illinois gets the double-bye for tournament, they’ll play either Indiana on Rutgers on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Tip-off is set for 5:30 CT.

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