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Gameday Central | Northwestern at No. 9 Illinois

Jan. 2—Last year's Big Ten turned into three months of everyone (save for Purdue) beating up on each other. The Boilermakers won the league by three games, and then basically every other team was a game or two on either side of .500.

This season? Could be the same thing. Illinois was looking like a real challenger to Purdue, but that was before Terrence Shannon Jr. was suspended.

Maybe the Illini figure out their new reality. They did Friday against Fairleigh Dickinson in a 104-71 victory. But the Knights are a middle-of-the-pack Northeast Conference team.

The Big Ten is different. Maybe not as competitive as a league (compared to other power conferences), but still full of better teams than FDU. And tonight's game against Northwestern will be the first real test.

Follow along with beat writer Scott Richey all night to find how if Illinois passes it:

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