NEW YORK (WCIA) — The Illinois men’s basketball team is a long shot to make the NCAA tournament but they’re not giving up on their dreams to make the Big Dance quite yet. The Illini (14-17, 4-14) enter this week’s Big Ten tournament as the 13-seed, they’ll face No. 12 Iowa in the first round Wednesday afternoon.
“Definitely feel good,” Illinois junior Leron Black said. “We know that’s what the tournament is for, everybody gets a chance and we’re going to have a chance to be able to wins some games and shock a lot of people.”
Illinois is playing some of its best basketball of the season, winning two out of its last four games. The Hawkeyes (13-18, 4-14) beat the Illini 104-97 in OT earlier this season.
“We feel good,” Illinois junior guard Aaron Jordan added. “We had a great two days of prep out here. We’re really dialing in to Iowa and their scouting report, we just can’t wait to get out there. The draw, it is what it is, you still got to go out there and play. The game is in between the lines. They’re going to say what they have to say on paper and we’re going to go out there and we’re going to play our hardest.”
Illinois plays Iowa at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The winner advances to play No. 5 seed Michigan on Thursday.