It also goes by the strength of the conference. The Big East was weak last season if you go from top to bottom and those top few teams weren't given much credit for those wins over a team like Butler who went 0-18 in conference and 1-27 overall
Last year the 7th best team in the Big East finished 7 games under .500 overall out of 11 teams. This year you have Butler 2-11 in conference and Xavier 0-12 so far.
Nebraska was a 8 seed last season and went 11-7 in conference and 3-5 vs top 25. The problem with Illinois this year is we got to face Ohio St and Indiana twice, only face Iowa, Michigan and Maryland once. That means if you don't have the opportunity to face more of the big dogs twice than you have to win against the lower tier opponents. So far they have done that. If Illinois goes 11-7 in conference they are in....factoring in majority of loses are 2-3 possession game at most so far is impressive if that holds.