WCIA — Illinois men’s basketball stays unranked in the updated AP Top 25 poll released on Monday, joining a handful of Big Ten teams on the outside looking in after Purdue took over the top spot.
Illinois was back practicing at the State Farm Center following a two-break on Friday and Saturday. Before that, Illinois had been together as a team for 19 straight days.
“None. The NCAA doesn’t allow us to have organized anything,” Brad Underwood said of any contact with the team during the break. “Guys may have came in and shot a little bit, did some treatments with Paul if they needed them. Tough stretch, obviously did some good things in that stretch but now it’s game prep. It’s not like we have a day to work on ourselves, it’s right back into the Buckeyes and game prep mode.”
One of the positives to come from the loss to Indiana on Thursday was RJ Melendez seeing the ball go in the bucket. He had 10 points, tied for his most in a game since being demoted to the bench earlier this season.
“I got to find those little parts where I can help the team win, and just do those extra plays,” said Melendez. “At least just crash the boards or play hard defense or just help the team in whatever I can do, because I know an easy shot is never going to be available for me. I gotta do the extra things so the team can be available to win and do whatever it takes.”
The Illini will be back on the court Tuesday hosting Ohio State. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.