Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His e-mail is [email protected], and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

Welcome to “Excellent Early Morning, Illini Nation,” your everyday dose of college basketball news from Illini beat author and AP Leading 25 voter Scott Richey. He’ll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood’s group:

Illinois’ win versus Northwestern popped on the national college basketball radar. How could it not? The Illini ended up being the very first Department I team in the last 25 years to route by a minimum of 15 points at halftime and still win by 20 or more points. Illinois was likewise the first string to outscore a power conference opponent by at least 40 points in a half since Kentucky did it to Vanderbilt (a 43-point edge) in 2003.

So, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that Illinois-Northwestern led off the most recent episode of the “CBS Sports Eye on College Basketball” podcast with Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander. You can listen to the entire podcast here, however here’s a bit from both Parrish and Norlander:

Norlander: I was on the phone for about 20 minutes and type of paying attention, however not secured. The next thing I knew I was like, ‘Wait a second, hang on, Illinois is up by 8 right now.’ What took place here? It simply continued. This was the greatest Jekyl and Hyde performance I think I ‘d ever seen in my life. Illinois would have beaten Gonzaga. They were that great in the 2nd half. Nobody was stopping that group.

One coach struck me up and said this team (referencing Illinois) they’re great, but they’re schizophrenic. Excellent record. Quality losses. However they will go through these strange stretches you do not understand what sort of team this is.

Parrish: What made this so special is one team was excellent in the first half and the other was terrible, and then it totally turned in such a way that was tough to comprehend, but also in a manner that was likewise incredibly severe. I indicate 53-13 in 20 minutes? On scholarship, how can you just put a ball in a basket twice versus Illinois? Illinois is an excellent defensive group– leading 20– but not top five or No. 1.