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Basketball Sun Mar 15 2009
The Fighting Illini are going back to the big dance after sitting at home with a dismal 16-19 record last year. Illinois tied for second in the Big Ten conference with Purdue; a team they beat two times during the regular season and unfortunately a third win was not in the cards. The Boilermakers beat the Illini Saturday 66-56 in the semifinals of the Big Ten conference tournament.
Despite losing to Purdue in the semifinals, the Illini got an invite to the NCAA tournament.They posted a 23-8 record with an 11-7 record in the Big Ten conference; that earned them a 5th seed in the South region.They will face 12th seed Western Kentucky in the first round. Should the Illini make it to the Regionals, they have a chance to face North Carolina and they could avenge their loss to the Tar Heels in the 2005 National Championship.