Illinois a No. 9 seed in CBT's projected bracket

Illinois a No. 9 seed in CBT's projected bracket
January 23, 2013, 9:58 pm
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John Groce's Illinois squad has had a rough going in January, falling to 1-4 in conference before rebounding Tuesday with a 71-51 win over Nebraska. The recent stretch -- which has included losses in five of eight games -- has knocked the Illini out of the AP Top 25, and NBC Sports' College Basketball Talk recently bumped Groce's all the way down to a nine-seed in their most recent projected bracket.
They are one of eight Big Ten teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament by CBT's Dave Ommen, joining Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa in the bracket.
The current bracket has the Illini squaring off against No. 8 Georgetown in the West region, with a date against No. 1 Arizona (or No. 16 Northeastern, the projected winner of the Colonial Conference) awaiting in the third round.
Michigan is the Big Ten's lone No. 1 seed in the projected bracket, while two-seeded Indiana, three-seeded Minnesota and four-seeded Michigan State round out the top 16 spots.
Fifth-seeded Ohio State, seventh-seeded Wisconsin and eleventh-seeded Iowa round out the eight bids, which are the most of any league in the projected bracket.
Nothing will get easier for Groce and the Illini, who begin a five-game stretch Sunday that includes Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota. Four of those five teams are ranked in the top 13, and the fifth -- Wisconsin -- is currently ranked 27th after knocking off then-No. 2 Indiana last week.