Illinois Advances in the N. I. T., Happy to Be Here. Really.

By Paul Schmidt

Even if you take at face value how much the Illini are trying to win the NIT, their second half performance against Kent State was inspiring.

Such is life for the Illini, who had to answer a barrage of questions about whether or not they really wanted to be in the NIT after their 75-58 win against the Kent State Golden Flashes.

The win was the 21st on the season for the Illini and guaranteed them one more home game — a last dance if you will, Wednesday night against Dayton.

The win ALSO puts the Illini one win from playing in one of basketball’s most venerable venues — Madison Square Garden. [Read more…]

Title Games Produce Different Fates for Mississippi State, Minnesota

By Mike Gallagher

Don’t get me wrong, winning the Big Ten Tournament would’ve been nice on a number of levels for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Not only would it have kept their ridiculous amount of late season momentum going right into the tournament with the auto bid they would’ve received, but in the big picture it also would be a great title and trophy to hold along with an unbelievable comeback story for the school that could be passed over for decades to come.  When it seemed they were done, the 2010 Gophers made a memorable charge through the entire Big Ten to win the league and go to the NCAAs.  You know, all that sentimental crap.

But let’s be completely serious, when it came down to the Gophers getting into this year’s tournament, Sunday’s game had nothing to do with it.

[Read more…]