The eighth seed Illinois Fighting Illini (21-11) will face the ninth seed Minnesota Golden Gophers (20-11) in the first round of the Big Ten tournament in Chicago on March 14. The bracket was announced last Sunday by the Big Ten. This will be the third meeting this season by the two teams.
The Fighting Illini looks to continue to build impressive wins in order to improve their NCAA tournament stock. The series between the two teams is split at one game apiece.
The Fighting Illini are coming off a two game losing streak, including a loss to Ohio State. They gave up 84 points in their first match up against the Golden Gophers. In the second meeting they tightened up the defense and only allowed 53 points. The Fighting Illini are 4-1 in neutral site games.
The Fighting Illini have been led by their senior guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson all season long and look for them to help them make a strong run in the Big Ten tournament. In their two games against the Golden Gophers, Paul averaged 15.5 points per game and Richardson averaged 13.5 points per game.