Illini Bracketology: Where Is Illinois Projected in March Madness?
Illinois hasn’t heard its name called on Selection Sunday since 2013 and it appears they may not exactly have to sweat out the annual selection show in a few months.
Today, Illini fans woke up to the realization they cheer for a men’s basketball program tied for the Big Ten Conference lead. For those wondering, Illinois (14-5, 6-2) 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 Friday morning or days before the Illini earned a dominating 79-62 win at Purdue Tuesday night.
Here are Illinois’ NCAA Tournament resume information as of today:
NET Ranking: 31
Quadrant 1 Record (Home vs. 1-30; Neutral vs. 1-50; Away vs. 1-75): 3-3
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 7-seed playing North Carolina State (14-5, 5-3) in Albany, New York with No. 10 Seton Hall as the 2-seed.
Joe Lunardi - ESPN - Lunardi's newest bracket released Friday morning has Illinois as a 7-seed in Greensboro, North Carolina against Memphis (14-4, 3-2 in American Athletic Conference) with No. 8 Duke as the 2-seed.
Jerry Palm - CBS Sports - Palm released a bracket projection Friday morning and has Illinois as a 7-seed vs. Florida (12-6, 4-2 in Southeastern Conference) with No. 6 Louisville being the 2-seed.
Mike DeCourcey - Fox Sports - In his first year doing bracket projections, DeCourcey has the Illini as a 7-seed playing Marquette (14-5, 4-3 in Big East Conference).
NOTE: Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, Illinois has only been a 7-seed once in school history and it was their last selection in 2013. John Groce’s Illini team defeated Colorado 57-49 in Austin, Texas before losing 63-59 to 2-seed Miami (Fla.).
Tim Krueger - Stadium - Krueger has Illinois as a 9-seed in Spokane against Houston (14-4, 4-1 in American Athletic Conference) with No. 2 Gonzaga as the top seed. This would be Illinois’ first matchup against Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson since he was fired at Indiana in 2008.
Chris Dobbertean - SB Nation - Dobbertean has Illinois as a 8-seed against Houston in Sacramento, California with No. 3 San Diego State as the top seed.
NOTE: Illinois has only been in the 8-9 first-round game twice in school history and have a 1-2 all-time record. The win came as the 9-seed in 2011 when Bruce Weber’s Illini team defeated UNLV 73-62 in Tulsa, Oklahoma before losing in the second round to top seed Kansas, coached by former Illini coach Bill Self, 73-59. The first-round loss came in 1994 as 8-seed Illinois was defeated 84-77 by Georgetown in Oklahoma City, which marked the final collegiate game of Illini all-time leading scorer Deon Thomas.