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Illini fighting way back to Big Ten contention

Updated: December 24, 2008, 5:01 PM ET
By Andy Katz

Although an ice storm made his trip from St. Louis take four hours instead of the usual three, Illinois coach Bruce Weber wanted to get home for Christmas. An inch of ice had accumulated on his car, and his driveway could have hosted a hockey game because of the slick conditions, but a rest on Christmas Eve gave Weber a reprieve from a chaotic season. It also gave him time to reflect on how the Illini are once again heading in the direction toward the NCAA tournament after a one-season hiatus.

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