Illinois has gotten off to a 5-0 start during the 2013-14 season, with victories over Alabama State, Jacksonville State, Valparaiso, Bradley and Chicago State. While those aren't the most demanding opponents, John Groce's team has looked impressive in there hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament.
This season should technically be a rebuilding one for the Fighting Illini, as three starters graduated and an additional four players transferred out of the program at the end of last season. Only three scholarship players from the 2012-13 squad returned, though promising newcomers have eased those losses.
The schedule will get tougher for the Illini as they travel out to Las Vegas to face UNLV on Tuesday night. Power conference schools Georgia Tech, Auburn, Oregon and Missouri all remain on their nonconference slate as well, giving U of I plenty of opportunities to pick up wins before the gauntlet of the Big Ten.