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No. 24 Illinois basketball ranked for the first time since 2014
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No. 24 Illinois basketball ranked for the first time since 2014

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Rutgers Illinois Basketball

Illinois' Kipper Nichols gets fan support after Illinois defeated Rutgers 54-51 on Sunday. The Illini are ranked in the Associated Press poll for the first time since Dec. 2014.

CHAMPAIGN — For the first time in more than five years, the Illinois men's basketball team is ranked in the most recent Associated Press Top 25.

The Illini (12-5, 4-2) are ranked No. 24 in the most recently polls that were released Monday afternoon. Illinois hasn't been ranked in the Associated Press poll since December of 2014. 

On Saturday, Illinois won its third consecutive game with a 54-51 win over Rutgers, in which sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu scored the team's final eight points to close out the game. The win came after the Illini went to Madison, Wis., on Wednesday and snapped a 15-game losing streak to the Badgers. Again, Dosunmu's play down the stretch was instrumental in getting the win. On Jan. 5, Illinois throttled Purdue at the State Farm Center.

Illinois is second in the Big Ten Conference standings, behind only Michigan State. The last time Illinois received votes in the Associated Press Top 25 was in this year's preseason poll.

The Illini host Northwestern at 4 p.m. Saturday, and the game will be streamed on the Big Ten Network.

Here are the rest of the rankings:

1. Gonzaga (30) 18-1 

2. Baylor (31) 13-1 

3. Duke (4) 15-1 

4. Auburn 15-0 

5. Butler 15-1 

6. Kansas 12-3 

7. San Diego St. 17-0 

8. Oregon 14-3 

9. Florida St. 14-2

10. Kentucky 12-3 

11. Louisville 13-3 

12. West Virginia 13-2 

13. Dayton 14-2 

14. Villanova 12-3 

15. Michigan St. 13-4 

16. Wichita St. 15-1 

17. Maryland 13-3 

18. Seton Hall 12-4 

19. Michigan 11-5 

20. Colorado 13-3 

21. Ohio St. 11-5 

22. Memphis 13-3 

23. Texas Tech 10-5

24. Illinois 12-5 

25. Creighton 13-4 

Cockburn named Big Ten freshman of week

Kofi Cockburn averaged 13 points and 11.5 rebounds in a pair of Illini wins last week to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for the sixth time this year.

Cockburn, a freshman, scored 15 points on 6-of-9 from the field and grabbed a team-high six rebounds in win at Wisconsin, helping the Illini storm back from a six-point deficit to claim a 71-70 victory, snapping a 15-game losing streak against the Badgers and earning their first victory in Madison in 10 years. Then Cockburn recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and game-high and career-high tying 17 rebounds in comeback win over Rutgers. The 17 boards tied his school single-game freshman rebound record, a mark which he first set on Nov. 20 


PHOTOS: 31 amazing Illini basketball history photos

Contact Joey Wagner at (217) 421-6970. Follow him on Twitter: @mrwagner25

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