12. Illinois Fighting Illini - 7-2 (1-0)
After losing to Tennessee last week, the Fighting Illini have been off for the last week, so there are no games to recap. So it allows us to recap what they've done to this point. They started in the top 25 but a loss to Marquette took them out. They managed to win five straight games afterward before the defeat to the Vols.
The best win of the season to date has been against Florida Atlantic in the Jimmy V Classic. A road win over Rutgers helps to get on the board in Big Ten play, as they have a brutal three games at the beginning of the new year, including games against Purdue and Michigan State.
While Zach Edey is the clear favorite to repeat as Big Ten Player of the Year, massive credit should go to Terrence Shannon Jr. for his big super senior campaign. He currently leads the team with 21.7 ppg. shooting 51% from the field and 42% from three-point range. Southern Illinois transfer Marcus Domask (11.4 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer on the roster but there's enough scoring depth all around for the team not to rely exclusively on Shannon to win.
Up next for Illinois are a pair of games this week, starting with Colgate on Sunday. After that is a rivalry matchup with Missouri on Friday. That'll be the last important non-con game before the Big Ten slate gets going.