NCAA Tournament March Madness

#9 Illinois

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Projected seed: 3

This Illinois team carries the weight of a high-octane offense that can challenge the best defenses in the nation. Let's talk key wins and tough battles – the victories over Michigan State and a solid Rutgers squad showcase their ability to clamp down on quality opponents, while their narrow loss at Purdue – arguably the top dog this season – demonstrates they have the firepower to hang with elite teams. However, the defensive metrics raise eyebrows, possibly becoming their Achilles' heel against squads proficient in exploiting such weaknesses. Those losses to Marquette and Penn State may not look great on the resume, but Illinois has chances to solidify their status with a strong finish, including the upcoming battle against Purdue. Consistency on the defensive end and navigating the razor's edge of the Big Ten could very well dictate how deep this squad dances in March.

Date Opponent Ranking Outcome
11/6E Illinois311W80-52
11/10Oakland142W64-53
11/14Marquette10L71-64
11/17Valparaiso284W87-64
11/19Southern Univ255W88-60
11/24W Illinois212W84-52
12/2@Rutgers83W76-58
12/5(N)FL Atlantic28W98-89
12/9@Tennessee5L86-79
12/17Colgate154W74-57
12/22(N)Missouri175W97-73
12/29F Dickinson327W104-71
1/2Northwestern26W96-66
1/5@Purdue1L83-78
1/11Michigan St25W71-68
1/14Maryland56L76-67
1/18@Michigan123W88-73
1/21Rutgers83W86-63
1/24@Northwestern26L96-91
1/27Indiana96W70-62
1/30@Ohio St66W87-75
2/4Nebraska30W87-84
2/10@Michigan St25L88-80
2/13Michigan123W97-68
2/17@Maryland56W85-80
2/21@Penn St95L90-89
2/24Iowa46W95-85
2/28Minnesota70W105-97
3/2@Wisconsin24W91-83
3/5Purdue148%
3/10@Iowa4657%