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Illinois vs. Minnesota Final Score: Illini defeat Golden Gophers 85-52, advance to second round of Big Ten Tournament

The Fighting Illini will face No. 5 seed Iowa on Thursday.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

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 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.

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.

Illinois Fighting Illini stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers stats