Best, worst, and most likely NCAA tournament seeds for the Illinois basketball team

The NCAA tournament is right around the corner, so it is time to look at where the Illinois basketball team could possibly land.
Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) reacts to a call during the NCAA men   s
Illinois Fighting Illini forward Marcus Domask (3) reacts to a call during the NCAA men s / Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA
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Best seed

Life would have been way more fun if Illinois beat Purdue on Tuesday night. We would have been talking about how high the Illini could get seeded in the NCAA tournament.

Instead, I am thinking about the best possible seed. With the loss against the Boilermakers, Illinois is still in the No. 4 slot right now. I don’t think that changes after falling to the No. 3 team in the country.

Illinois then has Iowa on the road to finish out the season. As mentioned, the Hawkeyes are No. 57 in the NET Rankings, so this is a Quad 1 game. If Illinois can take down Iowa, that would bump our Quad 1 record to 6-6.

The first Big Ten Tournament game Illinois plays will be on Friday next week. There are a handful of teams that could be our eventual opponent, but the best-case scenario if we want to move up is to have Michigan State secure the No. 7 seed and win on Thursday.

Michigan State is No. 22 in the NET Rankings, so if Illinois can match up against the Spartans and beat them on Friday, that moves our Quad 1 record to 7-6.

Illinois then advances to the Final 4 of the Big Ten Tournament to face Northwestern. This doesn’t do much for the Illini NCAA tournament seeding, as the Wildcats are No. 52 in the NET Rankings. Obviously, a win looks great, so get this victory and advance to the Big Ten Championship game.

This is where things get sticky. Illinois could face Purdue again for one last matchup. The Boilermakers have our number, but they are the No. 2 team in the NET Rankings. Taking down Purdue would be huge, and it would get Illinois’ Quad 1 record to 8-6.

If this scenario happens and Illinois wins four games in a row leading into the NCAA tournament, I think we could make a jump in the seeding. An 8-6 Quad 1 record would be huge. You pair that with a Big Ten Tournament crown, and I could see Illinois still sneaking into the No. 2 seed. We need help from some of the teams ahead of us, but in my opinion, there is a shot at the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.