John Groce and his team will live to fight another day. On Wednesday afternoon, No. 12 seed Illinois (14-18, 5-13) defeated No. 13 seed Minnesota (8-23, 2-16) 85-52 to advance to the second round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament. Scoring was very balanced amongst the Illini starters, but Michael Finke led the way with 17 points on 6-10 shooting.
The Golden Gophers, well, tried their best today. Rick Pitino's squad was down to only a handful of active players thanks to some injuries and suspensions, so we were predictably treated to some unique plays during the game.
This was a shot attempt. pic.twitter.com/hxBC90xzmW— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) March 9, 2016
Jaylon Tate hits the 4th 3-pointer of his career to end the half. Now 4/45 thru almost 3 years. pic.twitter.com/NUDzNbY4Oy— Big Ten Geeks (@bigtengeeks) March 9, 2016
This game was realistically over before it started, and it really showed during the second half. Minnesota's lack of depth -- specifically in the backcourt -- was completely exposed as they had no answer for anything that the Orange and Blue threw at them.
27-5 #Illini run at one point there. 80-46 with 3:12 left.— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) March 9, 2016
Illinois will face No. 5 seed Iowa (21-9, 12-6) on Thursday afternoon; the game is scheduled to begin 25 minutes after the conclusion of No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 9 Northwestern (11:00am CT tip), so you can expect them start around 2:00pm CT. Illinois' only game of the season against the Hawkeyes resulted in a 77-65 loss at home.
You can find more information on the Big Ten Tournament right here.