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Illinois is ranked No. 24 in the latest Associated Press Top-25 Poll, released Monday morning. The Fighting Illini have won three straight and are 12-5 on the season and 4-2 in the Big Ten after a pair of victories last week at Wisconsin, 71-70, and at home over Rutgers, 54-51. 

 

It is the first time the Fighting Illini have been ranked in the AP Poll since Dec. 1, 2014, when they checked in at No. 24.

 

Bayor leapfrogged the Kansas and Duke into the second spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday. They finished with 1,567 points in voting by 65 media members who regularly cover the game, just seven back of top-ranked Gonzaga — even though Baylor had 31 first-place votes and the Bulldogs had 30.

 

The Blue Devils fell to third in the AP poll, followed by unbeaten Auburn and Butler. The Jayhawks were next with another unbeaten, San Diego State, staying at No. 7. Oregon, Florida State and Kentucky rounded out the top 10.

 

The Wildcats climbed four spots by squeezing out tougher-than-expected wins over Georgia and Alabama.

 

The biggest climb came from Wichita State, which jumped seven spots to No. 16 after soundly beating new No. 22 Memphis and turning back Connecticut in double overtime. The Shockers’ only loss came against No. 12 West Virginia in the championship game of the Cancun Classic in late November.

 

Ohio State wasn’t the only Big Ten team to take a tumble. Michigan State dropped seven spots to No. 15 after the Spartans were pounded 71-42 at Purdue, and Penn State fell from No. 20 all the way out of the poll after the Nittany Lions lost consecutive games to unranked teams in Wisconsin and Rutgers.

 

The 24th-ranked Illini will be back on the court Saturday when Northwestern comes to State Farm Center for a 4 p.m. CT tip. 

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