WCIA — After two impressive showing in Las Vegas at the Continental Tire Main Event, Illinois basketball is up threes spots to No. 16 in the new AP Top 25 Poll released Monday.

The Illini are coming off a win against No. 8 UCLA and loss to No. 16 Virginia, now No. 19 and No. 5 respectively in the new poll. No. 11 Indiana and No. 12 Michigan State lead the way for the Big Ten, while Maryland, Purdue, and Iowa come in at the final three spots of the poll.

The belt went to the Cavaliers at the Main Event, but the Illini may have found something from one of their freshmen. Jayden Epps put together another strong performance off the bench, leading the Illini with 14 points and two steals.

“This is a great experience for me,” Epps said following the loss to Virginia. “Playing at this level, playing at a high level against a good team like that. I feel like I’m going to learn how to execute down the stretch like coach said, and just stay solid on defense and just continue to play hard.”

Coming off a terrific performance against the Bruins in game one, Terrence Shannon Jr. was named Big Ten Player of the Week. The transfer guard led the Illini to a comeback victory with 29 points and tied a program record with eight 3-pointers. Last Monday, he also set a career high with 30 points against Monmouth.

Shannon Jr. and the Illini will have a little break until Friday when they welcome Lindenwood to the State Farm Center. The Lions are 2-4 this season, and the two last played in 2019 when they were still a D-II institution. Tip-off is 8 p.m.