CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — On Jan. 16, 2021, Illinois basketball lost to Ohio State on their home floor 87-81. Since then, they have gone 20-1 in the Big Ten and are in the driver’s seat in the league with their toughest test yet coming on Monday.

Nine of the Illini’s wins during the streak have come on the road, never an easy thing to do in the Big Ten. The consistency is something they have worked hard at in the past year.

“We all go through peaks and valleys in great conferences,” says head coach Brad Underwood. “I think the thing that would excite me about that is consistency, knowing we’ve been able to try to do that a lot more nights then we haven’t.”

“If you look at those 20 games, there’s probably a couple that were down to the last second, 50/50, one play made the difference,” says Jacob Grandison. “Can’t get complacent in it, have to keep doing what we’re doing in practice. We’re just hooping right now, that’s the quote.”

The Illini find themselves at the top of the Big Ten after Michigan State lost on Saturday. Purdue has fallen outside the top 5 in the conference after a few early season slips. The match-up inside with Trevion Williams and Zach Edey versus Kofi Cockburn may be where Monday’s game is won or lost.

“He’s done a really good job against us in the previous games but we had to do a good job of getting our position deep and scoring the basketball. And then making it hard for him,” says Purdue head coach Matt Painter.

“Obviously he’s a tough, physical dude,” says Edey. “He’s strong, it’s hard to move him. You can’t let him get the ball close to the rim.”

“We looked at last year’s game and the previous games before that, we struggle with hitting him early and letting him get deep,” says Williams. “This year we want to change that and prepare differently.”

It is an early game on Monday with an 11 a.m. tip-off. The game is on FOX.