Conference: Big 10 Conference
How They Qualified: At-Large Berth
The Illinois Fighting Illini have had a tremendous season. Even though nobody has paid attention to it, the Illini have beaten a ton of really good teams this season. In their non-conference schedule alone, Illinois beat both the Butler Bulldogs and Gonzaga Bulldogs. That is obviously not counting a pretty solid Big 10 Conference run, which included beating the then No. 1 ranked team in the country, Indiana Hoosiers.
However, they did have some pretty questionable losses. Considering losing to a team like the Northwestern Wildcats is generally a bad thing, Illinois should thank their lucky stars that they beat the good teams when they had the chance.
What You Need to Know:
Leading Scorer: Brandon Paul (16.3 ppg)
Leading Rebounder: Nnanna Egwu (4.5 rpg)
Leading Passer: Tracy Abrams (3.4 apg)
Bad Losses: Purdue, Northwestern
Good Wins: Butler, Gonzaga, Indiana
Brandon Paul. Okay, I am not sure I need to say anything else about this team anymore. Sure, the Fighting Illini have a bunch of other players that play a pivotal role on the team, but they are only going to go as far as Paul takes them. To be honest, I am not sure that is a good or a bad thing in the NCAA Tournament. But hey, this is where stars start to shine or begin to fade away.
They have beaten the best of the best and lost to the worst of the worst. Fill out your brackets accordingly.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are dancing!