My column may not be as anticipated as the opening of Portillo's in Springfield, and it may not bring the popularity of endless lines of cars like Chatham's Light Up the Park holiday lights display, but it is in high demand. Love me or hate me, you can't wait to read what nonsense I will write this week. Let's proceed with the drivel...

•I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch the Illini take care of Duke late Tuesday night, and it was well worth it. Illinois legitimized both its top 10 ranking and hype, even if this Duke team isn't as good as some in the past. The Illini took control from the outset and nearly had seven players in double figures. That's impressive. And Illinois didn't get any favors from the refs, but that's to be expected at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Baylor loss may prove to be a really good thing for this team, and hopefully the Bears' defensive intensity will be remembered by the Illini as the season continues. You gotta bring it, and bring it strong, in these high level games. We still have to get Kofi more comfortable, and we need to see more from Adam Miller than outside jump shots. But beating Duke on the road, keeping a double digit lead throughout? Yes, we will take that. And I really like what Andre Curbelo brings to the table. Now it's time to blow out Missouri and on to the rugged conference slate...

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