Fighting Illini lose to Iowa Hawkeyes; let’s forget we ever watched this

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Let’s forget we ever watched this one. The Illinois Fighting Illini and Iowa Hawkeyes set the game back a few decades. We’ll wash our eyeballs of a 63-55 contest won by Iowa that was Restoril or Ambien in college basketball form. The Hawks finish 15-2 at home, in a contest where “points in the paint” didn’t seem to apply. I was like one end had Dikembe Mutombo and the other had Manute Bol the way so many bunnies, chip-ins, lay-ins, tip-ins, and lay-ups were missed on both end.

THIS .WAS. UGLY. Unlike Hawkeye cheerleader/pageant winner listed above

The Fighting Illini have probably secured a NCAA bid as of Saturday, by accruing 8 Big Ten wins and 21 overall, especially with their resume. But they looked like a poor NIT team this evening. The Iowa Hawkeyes are squarely on the bubble, trying to become the conference’s eight team in the dance.

The Fighting Illini lead the overall series 81-68, Iowa leads 53-20 at Iowa City. Then again the Fighting Illini had won their last three at Carver-Hawkeye, until they failed to pack their offense for tonight. The Hawkeyes tournament resume isn’t exciting. 14 of their 19 wins have been against a team with RPI ranked 135 or higher. They (19-11, 8-9) have nothing to hang their hat on in the non-con, and a very bad loss to Virginia Tech.

League wins over ranked Wisconsin and once-ranked Minnesota help. With an RPI of 86 and a SOS of 102, they have work to do. They need to not lose versus Nebraska (a low RPI game which won’t help them) and two Ws in Chicago during the Big Ten Tourney. A .500 conference record and 23 victories would be good enough to offset their lack of signature wins and very poor RPI and SOS.

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And remember Fighting Illini alums, let’s hope this team is not the one that shows up in the NCAA Tournament.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker

A Fulbright scholar, author and MBA, Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB)

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