Missed three-pointers, poor defense shut Illinois out of Top 25

Missed three-pointers, poor defense shut Illinois out of Top 25
January 21, 2013, 6:30 pm
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Following its third straight loss, a 68-54 defeat at the hands of Northwestern Thursday in Champaign, Illinois was dropped out of the latest AP top 25 rankings released Monday.

Under the leadership of first-year coach John Groce, the Fighting Illini got off to a promising 12-0 start this season, including a Top 10 ranking. Lately, however, they've been matching the play of last year's 17-15 team under Bruce Weber.

The Illini lost five of their last seven games and with No. 2 Michigan and No. 13 Michigan State coming up on the schedule, they risk extending this downward spiral.

The team's biggest issue lately has been a slump from beyond the arc. They've shot 11.9 percent on three pointers in their last three games and their defense has been outscored 226-172.

Related: Illini struggles defined by, but not limited to, three-pointers

Illinois may have a chance to redeem itself Tuesday on the road at Nebraska, which is only 1-5 in conference play.