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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Illinois And UNLV Take The Court

The final Big Ten representative to take the court for their opening round match-up will be the Illinois Fighting Illini, and they've drawn the UNLV Runnin' Rebels as their first opponent. The winner of this one will move on to face the Kansas Jayhawks, who pulled away fro Boston University earlier in the evening to advance.

The folks at Hail to the Orange, as expected, seem to like their chances of moving on to face the Jayhawks.

I have confidence in this team, that they will at least get into position to win this game, but again it is all contingent upon the Illini hitting their shots. The drought the Illini went through against Michigan was partially yes, that they slowed things down, and yes that they took too many three pointers when they should have worked for a two. But the shots that Illinois missed during that stretch were for the most part, good ones. Some of those three's I was angry about the Illini taking were open shots. If they hit one or two of those, it wouldn't have been an issue. You can't change your personality now, and this is a jumpshooting team. So make your jumpers and get back on defense, and it will take care of itself.

The Big Ten is 4-2 thus far in the opening round of the tournament. Can the Fighting Illini make the conference 5-for-7? You can find out by tuning in to TBS (Channel 247 on DirecTV, check your local cable listings for channel in your area) at 8:20 PM Central time.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.