Illini Bracketology - Jan. 28: Where Is Illinois Projected in March Madness?

Matthew Stevens

After a six-year absence from the NCAA Tournament, Illinois may be putting together a resume to be a high single-digit seed when the annual selection show comes around in a few months.

Today, the Illini are still tied for the Big Ten Conference lead. For those wondering, Illinois (15-5, 7-2) hasn’t won or shared a Big Ten men’s basketball title since 2005 - when leading scorer Ayo Dosunmu was five years old.

Illinois is currently forecasted by nearly all of the national projectors with a single-digit seed and most of these projected NCAA Tournament fields were published earlier this week. 


Here are Illinois’ NCAA Tournament resume information as of today:

NET Ranking: 32

Quadrant 1 Record (Home vs. 1-30; Neutral vs. 1-50; Away vs. 1-75): 4-3

Quadrant 2 Record (Home vs. 31-75; Neutral vs. 51-100; Away vs. 76-135): 2-1

Quadrant 3 Record (Home vs. 76-160; Neutral vs. 101-200; Away vs. 136-240): 1-1

Quadrant 4 Record (Home vs. 161-353; Neutral vs. 201-353; Away vs. 241-353): 7-0


Here are where the Illini are currently projected according to several of the most noteworthy bracket projectors:

Shelby Mast - USA Today - Mast’s operation updates his bracket every morning and currently has the Illini as a 6-seed playing the winner of Texas Tech vs. Memphis in the opening round game with No. 7 Dayton as the 3-seed.

Joe Lunardi - ESPN - Lunardi's newest bracket released Tuesday morning has Illinois as a 6-seed in St. Louis against Northern Iowa (17-3, 6-2) with No. 7 Dayton as the 3-seed.

Jerry Palm - CBS Sports - Palm released a bracket projection Monday morning and has an interesting first-round matchup for Illinois. Palm has the Illini as a 5-seed vs. Stephen F. Austin (17-3, 8-1 in Southland) with No. 11 Oregon being the 4-seed.

Illinois head coach Brad Underwood went 89-14 and 53-1 in Southland Conference in three seasons as the head coach at Stephen F. Austin from 2013-16. Underwood commented earlier this season when Stephen F. Austin defeated Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

“It’s a program changer,” Underwood said in early December. “That’s unbelievable. I think it speaks volumes to the job that Kyle (Keller) has done. He’s continued to have that program achieve at a very, very high level. That’s a wonderful place, and I’m happy for all those people and all those players.”

Mike DeCourcey - Fox Sports - In his first year doing bracket projections, DeCourcey has the Illini as a 5-seed playing Yale (14-4, 2-0 in Ivy League) with No. 13 Kentucky as the 4-seed.

Tim Krueger - Stadium - Krueger has Illinois as a 6-seed in Tampa against Virginia Commonwealth (15-5, 5-2 in Atlantic 10 Conference) with No. 5 Florida State as the 3-seed.