CHICAGO – Indiana will have a chance to avenge a regular-season loss when it begins play in the Big Ten tournament at noon today in the United Center.
The No. 3 Hoosiers (26-5), who are the tournament’s top seed, face No. 8 seed Illinois (22-11) in the quarterfinals, thanks to Illini guard Brandon Paul hitting a fadaway shot at the buzzed to defeat No. 9 seed Minnesota 51-49 in the opening round Thursday.
We know Illinois will be a tremendous challenge (today) at the United Center, Crean said in a statement Thursday. They play with great intensity, passion and execution.
Illinois defeated Indiana 74-72 Feb. 7 by overcoming a 69-59 deficit with 4:21 to play. Illini forward Tyler Griffey scored the game-winning basket when he broke free on an inbounds play for an uncontested layup at the buzzer.
Illinois’ D.J. Richardson scored 23 points against Indiana, and Paul added 21. Cody Zeller scored 14 against Illinois, which limited Victor Oladipo to nine points.
Illinois coach John Groce said Thursday that the win over Indiana will not have any bearing on today’s game.
It was a heck of game (on Feb. 7), but that game has nothing to do with (today), Groce said. It’s a completely different game, and we have to be ready to play.
Purdue’s 57-55 loss to No. 10 seed Nebraska dashed the No. 7 seed Boilermakers’ last shot to making the NCAA tournament by winning the Big Ten tourney, but coach Matt Painter still hopes his team will be playing some games this season.
Purdue (15-17) likely will not be selected to play in the NIT, but the Boilermakers could end up in either the College Basketball Invitational or the CollegeInsider.com tournament.
It’s one of those things where I want our guys to be in the right frame of mind, Painter said. I want to play. They can say that they want (to play), but you got to be able to give your word that you are going to go out there and fight and take it serious to go out and win basketball games, if you have the opportunity.