By Adam Hoge-
INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) What a turnaround it’s been for Illinois.
A week and a half ago, the Illini were probably not even in the NCAA Tournament. Friday, at an official mock selection at NCAA headquarters, Illinois was given a No. 5 seed.
Twenty media members make up the mock selection committee in Indianapolis, putting together a bracket as if the season ended today. The process will not be complete until later Friday afternoon, but the field is slowly being filled out.
Illinois has by far been the most polarizing team when it comes to seeding. The Illini have two of the most impressive wins in the field — at Gonzaga, vs Indiana — but they also have bad losses to Northwestern at home and Purdue on the road. Ultimately, the road win over Gonzaga has been a huge boost the committee can’t ignore and driven Illinois up the seeding list.
For reference, the Illini are currently No. 18 on the overall seeding list, which means they are ranked second among the 5-seeds.
It’s possible Illinois still moves up or down when the committee goes through the “scrubbing” process later Friday. For now though, the Illini are in great shape and far away from missing the tournament altogether.