Fighting Illini jump nine spots in AP Poll
December 3, 2012, 2:22 pm
John Groce and Illinois played just one time last week, but it paid off as a string of upsets helped the Fighting Illini shoot up in the national polls.
The Illini moved up to No. 13 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, nine spots higher than last week. Illinois played just one time during the week, defeating Georgia Tech, 75-62, at home, and is now one of just 20 undefeated groups left in Division I.
Voters are still undecided on the Illini's 8-0 start. Two voters, Dick Weiss of the NY Daily News and John Feinstein from NPR, ranked Illinois No. 10 in their respective ballots this week. The Illini received votes all the way from No. 10 to No. 25 at least once, while the New Haven Register's Dave Borges and the Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger had Illinois unranked. Last week 34 pollsters had the Illini unranked.
Shooting guard Brandon Paul continues to lead the way, averaging 18.3 points on 48 percent shooting from the field. He has also contributed a team-high 4.1 assists per game, while D.J. Richardson's 12.3 points and team-high 4.9 rebounds also have helped the cause.
Undefeated Indiana was voted No. 1 for the fifth straight week, receiving 45 of the 65 first-place votes. The other 20 first-place votes went to Duke, also 8-0 to begin the season.
Other Big Ten notables include No. 3 Michigan (no change), No. 7 Ohio State (down three spots), No. 14 Minnesota (up seven spots) and No. 19 Michigan State (down six spots).
Illinois plays just once this week, Dec. 4 at home against Western Carolina, but has a road date with No. 10 Gonzaga a week from today that could prove a better gauge for where the Illini stand.
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