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Good Morning, Illini Nation: Protecting home court

Jan. 11—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 and college basketball at large:

Wisconsin beating Ohio State by 11 in Columbus, Ohio, and Northwestern rallying for a 76-72 win at Penn State on Wednesday night threw a bit of a wrench in the "Can you actually win on the road in the Big Ten" idea that had been percolating.

It was a legitimate question, though. Road wins had been few and far between in the conference. Then two on the same night. Big Ten basketball ... exceedingly unpredictable.

Illinois has one of the still rare Big Ten road wins. This week, though, the Illini are more concerned about denying Michigan State and Maryland the same. Protecting home court is a priority.

"It's super important — especially when you have aspirations to win the Big Ten championship," Illinois junior guard Luke Goode said. "You can't lose games at home when you're playing in the Big Ten. That's just the reality of it. It's tough to win on the road in the Big Ten. When you're at home, you've got to take advantage of that — the 10 games you have at home. Those are important."