CHICAGO (AP) For all the setbacks Michigan endured, it turns out the Wolverines weren't ready to go away without making at least a little more noise.
They sure let it out against Illinois.
Aubrey Dawkins scored 18 points and Michigan pounded the Fighting Illini 73-55 Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 15 points and eight rebounds. Zak Irvin scored 14, and the ninth-seeded Wolverines (16-15) advanced in the tournament after dropping eight of 11 games. They will meet No. 6 Wisconsin, the top seed, in the quarterfinals on Friday.
''We're not gonna let ourselves slack or be upset about the things that have happened to our team in the past,'' Dawkins said. ''We're gonna try and stay focused and keep getting better. We're not gonna let a couple setbacks hold us back.''
Early-season losses to the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Eastern Michigan set a bad tone, and a season-ending foot injury to standout guard Caris LeVert in January did not help. But the Wolverines are at least moving on in the conference tournament.
That's something the Illini can't say.
Illinois (19-13) simply came out flat on a day when it needed to impress the NCAA selection committee. Instead, the eighth-seeded Illini trailed by 17 at halftime and lost for the fifth time in seven games.
They watched as Michigan nailed 7 of 15 3-pointers, with Dawkins and Irvin hitting two apiece. Illinois shot just 1 of 13 from long range in a game where none of its starters played well.
''Defensively, we just wanted to run them off the line because we knew they were really good 3-point shooters,'' Michigan's Spike Albrecht said. ''We didn't want to let them kill us with 3's. We wanted to make some of their guys who aren't go-to's beat us.''
Malcolm Hill had 13 points for Illinois but shot just 3 of 12. Rayvonte Rice, who came in averaging 17 points, scored 10 and missed all four 3-pointers while going 4 of 13 from the field.
Reserve Leron Black (10 points, five rebounds) seemed to be the only one who came ready to play on a day when Illinois' starters shot a combined 13 of 45.
''We knew what we had to play for,'' Nnanna Egwu said. ''We should have been more desperate. They came out and outworked us.''
As for what comes next?
''We can't control what the committee decides,'' Rice said. ''We're just gonna look at the film, see what we can get better at.''
The teams played two overtime games during the regular season, with the home team winning each time. But it was a different story on Thursday.
Michigan opened the game with a big run, withstood a charge by Illinois and finished the first half with another strong push to grab a 40-23 lead at the break.
Dawkins, who scored a career-high 31 in a win over Rutgers on Saturday, had 12 points and hit two 3-pointers. Albrecht buried two and Michigan nailed 6 of 10 from long range in the first 20 minutes. Abdur-Rahkman was a force off the bench with nine points - seven to cap a game-opening 14-2 run.
The Illini put up three airballs while missing eight of their first nine shots before ripping off 13 straight points. Black scored six during the run, and Hill finished it with a 3 to give Illinois a 15-14 lead midway through the half. But it didn't take long for Michigan to regain control.
Michigan: Michigan also beat Illinois in the second round last year.
Illinois: The Illini are 35-14 at the United Center.
Michigan G Derrick Walton Jr., sidelined since Jan. 24 because of a left toe/foot injury, said he will play against Wisconsin. Michigan considered having him return against Illinois but decided to wait at least another day. The sophomore is averaging 10.7 points.
Michigan: Plays top-seeded Wisconsin on Friday.
Illinois: Postseason to be determined.