The Waiting Game: Illinois St. in or out?


ST. LOUIS — Are they in the Big Dance or will they play in the NIT? It’s a waiting game for the Illinois State men’s basketball team after losing to Wichita State by 20 points in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament finals on Sunday.

“We know we’re going to play together again, we know that, but like I said, we’re just going to hope we get our name called on Sunday,” Illinois State head coach Dan Muller said.

“I’ve been dreaming about playing in the NCAA tournament since I was a kid and I’ve always dreamt about being on that stage,” Illinois State senior Paris Lee said.  “So it would mean so much to me to make it to the tournament.”

The Redbirds (27-6, 17-1 MVC) did nearly everything right this season, their only regular season conference loss was to the nationally ranked Shockers.  With a Top 50 RPI, the Birds figure to be in the bubble discussion, but some bracketologists have already wrote them off.  CBS’ Jerry Palm and Yahoo’s Brad Evans do not have ISU making the 68-team field.  ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Redbirds in his Last Four In category.

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