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Illinois enters top 5, Mizzou takes big fall in latest AP poll

March is coming quick, and things are heating up for our region's college hoops teams

ST. LOUIS — March is right around the corner, and our region's big-time basketball programs are tuning up for their shots in the NCAA tournament.

This past week saw one area program make a prestigious bump and the other tumble considerably.

The Illinois Fighting Illini moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 in the AP poll Monday after an overtime win over Nebraska on Friday. Illinois is now 14-5 on the season, second in the Big 10 after Michigan, who has been on an extended COVID-19 pause.

This is the second time this season Illinois has cracked the Top 5 in the AP poll. They were fifth in the country in the second week of the season as well.

The Missouri Tigers didn't fare nearly as well this past week.

Mizzou plummeted 10 spots from No. 10 to No. 20 in this week's poll after losing to Ole Miss and an overtime loss to Arkansas on Saturday.

Missouri and head coach Cuonzo Martin are now 13-5 on the year. Missouri's 10 spot drop was the biggest in the country this week.

Mizzou senior star Jeremiah Tilmon was not with the team for their loss against Arkansas due to a death in the family, and on Monday the program said he would be taking a leave of absence.

Saint Louis University is still sitting outside the AP Top 25 but did receive five votes this week. SLU is back on the court after a lengthy COVID-19 pause. The Billikens are 3-2 since they returned to the court, winning three straight games.

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