WCIA — A week and a half into the season, now is when things finally start to pick up for Illinois basketball as it heads to Las Vegas this week for games against some certified blue bloods.

After a dominating performance in a win against Monmouth on Monday night, Terrence Shannon Jr. was named to the Wooden Award Top 50 Watchlist. The Texas Tech transfer is off to a good start in Orange and Blue, averaging 22.7 points per game and shooting 81 percent from the free throw line.

“I’m either too strong for the opponent or too fast,” said Shannon Jr. “I just look to make contact and try to finish. I was talking to Coach Fletch actually, I said I’m going to try to lead the nation in fouls drawn and free throws.”

“Terrence was obviously on another planet,” said Brad Underwood. “I think he showed he’s one of the best players in the country.”

Illinois is winning games by an average of 35 points through three games. Now, they will be tested by UCLA Friday night in Las Vegas. Tip-Off at the Continental Tire Main Event is 8:30 p.m.