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Good Morning, Illini Nation: Illinois staying focused in Shannon's absence

Jan. 5—Welcome to "Good Morning, Illini Nation," your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He'll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood's team:

A week has passed since Illinois played its first game without Terrence Shannon Jr. following his suspension after being arrested and charged with rape. The on-the-court results couldn't have been much better.

Six Illini scored in double figures in a 104-71 blowout win against Fairleigh Dickinson a day after Shannon's suspension was announced. Then Marcus Domask went off for 32 points (with three other Illini in double figures) in a 96-66 victory against Northwestern on Tuesday.

All while there's plenty of outside discussion about Shannon's situation, but few actual facts. Illinois, both through campus and the DIA, has said it will have no further updates on Shannon's status unless it changes. Underwood repeated that Thursday.

"We're worried about Purdue," the Illinois coach said. "We're worried about the next game. I think that's the only way we can handle things is that 'next game' mentality. We've been very, very good about it to this point, and I love the maturity these guys are showing and the togetherness and the connectivity we've got."