It would take wins over Michigan Tuesday and at Iowa Saturday, but three straight wins over the last two weeks as the Illini's tourney chances back on life support. They say their goal of making the Dance never changed, even after they lost eight games in a row earlier this year.
"During the hard times, that's still always the goal that we had," said senior Jon Ekey. "We have it in our locker room. Every time you walk in there you see it. That's one of the program goals coach Groce has."
At Monday's news conference, head coach John Groce was asked if there was any benefit to playing in the NIT over the NCAA Tournament.
"No," Groce responded emphatically. "I've said before - and again I'm biased, but I think it's the greatest tournament in the world. Why wouldn't you want to be in the greatest tournament in the world?"
Illinois hosts No. 12 Michigan Tuesday night (6:00 pm, ESPN).
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.