WCIA — After a crazy week in college basketball, Illinois is the only team in the nation to stay right at its previous spot as they come in this week at No. 16 again.
The country does have a new No. 1 in Houston, with Texas and familiar Illini foe Virginia to follow. This week’s top Big Ten team goes to Purdue at No. 5, as the Boilers beat Duke and Gonzaga this past week.
CHALLENGE NO MORE:
It will not be a Top 25 match-up when Syracuse comes to Champaign Tuesday, they are coming off a home loss to Bryant. But it will be the final Big Ten/ACC Challenge game for both teams. ESPN made the announcement Monday the series is not continuing after 23 years.
“Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and this will be the last year of that challenge. I think it’s one of the elite events of that obviously ESPN has been apart of,” said Brad Underwood. “Obviously the new media rights deal was a big part of that, I would assume. We’ll have to go find a game elsewhere then.”
Illinois has won two straight in the challenge, beating Duke and Notre Dame over the last two seasons.
WORKING ON TURNOVERS:
The Illini will have to clean it up against the Orange after committing 22 turnovers in the win over Lindenwood on Friday night. Coleman Hawkins had a team high six of them, but the team is making it a focus during the week of practice.
“We’ll definetly cut down on the turnovers. Sometimes I think we get a little too sped up, we try to make the home run plays and that’s on me as well,” said Hawkins. “I think turnovers is going to be a big part, especially going into Big Ten play when it’s a one or two possession game. You’re not going to be able to turn the ball over 20 times. I think that’s going to be a big part for us, I think we’ll definitely settle down on those turnovers.”
Illinois tips off with Syracuse at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.