Fighting Illini

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Illini lost a 13-point lead. And then, in all likelihood, they lost their shot at making the NCAA tournament.

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Rayvonte Rice has been on fire of late.

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Nothing's official, but if you believe the bracketologists, there's an NCAA tournament bid on the line Saturday when the Illini meet the Boilermakers in West Lafayette.

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If the Illini and Wildcats want to reach their still-possible best-case scenarios when it comes to Big Ten Tournament seeding, they're going to need a little help.

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The scenario for the Illini was pretty clear Wednesday night: A win was expected, and a loss would be disastrous.

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