Illinois has the most all-time Big Ten Tournament wins with 23 and the second-best all-time BTT winning percentage. With a Brandon Paul buzzer beater today, they added to that record. It was ugly, ugly 51-49 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but it helps solidify the Illini basketball resume for the NCAAs. Brandon Paul was pretty much the entire team’s offense as he scored 25 including the dagger as time expired (watch video of it here). Illinois has reached/automatically qualified for the quarterfinals in every year of the tourney’s existence except last year.
The Illini have really struggled at the United Center lately. Prior to escaping with a win versus a very very bad Auburn team on December 29th, the Illini entered that contest having lost three in a row and five of six at the United Center, their supposed home away from home. But now the Illini have won two in a row at the UC. They’re beginning a new streak.
Illini basketball has won nine of their last ten BTT games played at the United Center. Today’s and they’re also now 16-5 all-time in BTT games at the United Center.
Illini basketball is also 16-5 in BTT games when seeded higher. The Illini and Minnesota Golden Gophers last played in the BTT in 2008, a 54-50 victory by the 10th-seeded Illini basketball over the sixth-seeded Gophers in the semifinals. That was during the Demetri McCamey coming out party. Also very low scoring, like today.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He’s an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker