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2017 Big Ten Tournament Bracketology: Seeding Scenarios for Illinois Basketball

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With one more conference game to go, the Fighting Illini could be seeded as high as 7th in the Big Ten Tournament.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Following Wednesday night’s action, the 2017 Big Ten Tournament seedings are starting to take their final shape. With just nine conference matchups remaining, there are only two teams with a guaranteed seed in next week’s tournament as of March 1st. Rutgers will finish as the fourteenth seed, and the Purdue Boilermakers will have a share of the Big Ten Championship along with the top overall seed in the conference tournament. As for the other twelve teams in conference, here’s where they currently stand:

As you can see, last night’s win over Michigan State boosted Illinois to the 9th spot in the conference. Assuming Illinois defeats Rutgers on the road Saturday afternoon, there are a handful of possibilities as to where Illinois would be seeded. With NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, some experts say the Illini would need up to two tournament wins in order to be a lock on selection Sunday. Here’s what NCAA “bracketologist” and Illinois grad Brad Evans suggests:

While any two tournament wins would be nice, some tournament seeds would create a tougher path to 21 total wins than others. Here’s what would need to happen in order for Illinois to earn any of the following seeds for the conference tournament:


Seventh Seed

The seventh seed is the best possible outcome for Illinois, and would result in a second round game with the Ohio State Buckeyes, or the Nebraska Cornhuskers. A seven seed paves a good path for Illinois to potentially win two tournament games. Here’s what would need to occur for the following bracket to happen:

Illinois wins; Nebraska beats Michigan AND Ohio State beats Indiana

Eighth Seed

The most probable seed for Illinois is the eighth seed. An eighth seed would guarantee a third meeting with the Iowa Hawkeyes, with the winner facing Purdue in the third round. While this would present an opportunity for Illinois to boost their resume with a win over Purdue, it’s one of the toughest roads to the NCAA Tournament. Here’s what would need to occur for the following bracket to happen:

Illinois wins; Wisconsin beats Iowa, Iowa beats Penn State

Ninth Seed

The least likely of the three tournament seeding possibilities, Illinois would face the Michigan Wolverines in the second round with the winner advancing to face Purdue. While this would present an opportunity for Illinois to boost their resume with a win over Purdue, it’s one of the toughest roads to the NCAA Tournament. Here’s what would need to occur for the following bracket to happen:

Illinois wins; Iowa beats Wisconsin AND Penn State

That’s a lot of different possibilities, with each result potentially altering Illinois’ chances at an NCAA Tournament bid. What are your thoughts on the most likely Big Ten Tournament seed for the orange and blue? Drop by in the comments below and give us your thoughts!