Illini solidify NCAA resume with win over Gophers

Illini solidify NCAA resume with win over Gophers

At 22-11, 8-10 in conference Illinois basketball has a real #10 or #11 seed in NCAA Tournament resume right now. Beating Minnesota 51-49 today on a Brandon Paul buzzer beater  in the Big Ten Tournament truly helps as the Gophers have an RPI of 24 and the nation’s second highest strength of schedule. The Illini were likely in, even if they had lost. But the W means they don’t have to sweat now at all on Selection Sunday.

Oh and you can watch video of said buzzer beater at the end of this post.

All bracketologies (projection of the NCAA Tournament field) will have the Illini in, if they didn’t already.

WHAT WORKS: RPI 43, SOS 9 They have four big signature wins over #1 Indiana Hoosiers at #Gonzaga Bulldogs #10 Ohio State Buckeyes #14 Butler Bulldogs (neutral court). UI is the only team to win at the Kennel, and Butler is the only team other than the Illini to have wins over both the  #1 and #3 teams in the country. Also two wins over Minnesota greatly enhances the resume.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: less than exciting home record, including losses to Purdue RPI 116, Northwestern RPI 164,  Hawkeyes RPI 77

What the Illini need to work on now is momentum. The offense has looked awful the past three games. Brandon Paul was literally half the team’s scoring. They’ll need more people involved to beat #1 seeded Indiana tomorrow.

By the way, here’s BP’s buzzer beater called by Gus Johnson

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He’s an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter and Yardbarker

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