Illini Bracketology - Feb. 18 - Where Is Illinois Projected in March Madness?

Matthew Stevens

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Despite being on a four-game losing streak, Illinois is still on pace to end a six-year absence from the NCAA tournament. 

The Illini (16-9, 8-6) are trying to find a way to get a victory without leading scorer Ayo Dosunmu. 

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 in the last couple of days.

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

NET Ranking: 38

Quadrant 1 Record (Home vs. 1-30; Neutral vs. 1-50; Away vs. 1-75): 5-7

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): 2-1

Quadrant 4 Record (Home vs. 161-353; Neutral vs. 201-353; Away vs. 241-353): 6-0

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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 Northern Iowa (20-4, 11-3 in Missouri Valley Conference) in Greensboro, North Carolina in the opening round game with No. 6 Duke as the 2-seed.

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.).

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Joe Lunardi - ESPN - Lunardi's newest bracket released Tuesday morning has Illinois as a 8-seed in Spokane, Washington against Florida (16-9, 8-4 in Southeastern Conference) with No. 2 Gonzaga as the top seed.

NOTE: Illinois has only been in the 8-9 first-round game twice in school history and has 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.

The only time Illinois has lost to Florida has been in the NCAA tournament - a 93-76 defeat in the 2000 second-round matchup in Winston-Salem, N.C. in the last game former Florida head coach Lon Kruger would coach the Illini. 

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Jerry Palm - CBS Sports - Palm released a bracket projection Monday morning and has Illinois as an 8-seed in Sacramento, California, vs. Texas Tech (16-9, 7-5 in Big 12 Conference) with No. 1 San Diego State being the top seed.

NOTE: The Illini are 1-1 all-time in the NCAA tournament in Sacramento where the 1997-98 Illini squad earned a 5-seed and defeated South Alabama before losing to Maryland. 

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Mike DeCourcey - Fox Sports - In his first year doing bracket projections, Mike DeCourcey has the Illini as an 8-seed playing Northern Iowa in the first round in Omaha, Nebraska.

NOTE: Illinois has had its last two losses in its six all-time meetings with the Jayhawks end its season in the NCAA tournament. The Illini lost in the regional semifinal of the 2002 NCAA tournament in Madison, Wisconsin and then lost to Kansas in the second round of the 2011 tournament. 

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Tim Krueger - Stadium - Krueger has Illinois as a 9-seed in Spokane against Wichita State (19-6, 7-5 in American Athletic Conference) with No. 1 Gonzaga as the top seed.

NOTE: The Illini haven't ever lost to Wichita State in three all-time matchups but have never played them in the NCAA tournament. The last time the two schools played was a 55-54 win in the South Padre Island tournament on Nov. 25, 2005. 

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