Illinois’ goals go beyond Big Ten tournament | Sports

Illinois’ goals go beyond Big Ten tournament | Sports

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois isn’t exactly lacking for motivation when it comes to starting postseason play in Friday’s Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.

Even if the Illini headed to Indianapolis as the No. 3 team in the country, the conference tournament’s No. 2 seed and a virtual lock to be a No. 1 seed once the NCAA tournament field is revealed Sunday evening.

A bit of manufactured motivation worked just as well.

The Big Ten regular-season title debate raged throughout the early part of the week. When it became clear the conference had no intention of giving Illinois co-champion status, athletic director Josh Whitman fired off a lengthy missive to the “Illini family” that managed to stoke some competitive fires.

Illinois enters Big Ten tournament play at Lucas Oil Stadium aiming for a title. But it’s not the end-all, be-all for the Illini.


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