The Illini had gone on a 12-point run, coming back from being down 14-2 to open the game. That, it turns out was the make or break point.
The end result was a 73-55 low energy loss to Michigan. One that left the Illini disappointed.
“We are disappointed we didn't play very well today. Dont want to take anything way from UM. I thought they were terrific. We didn't have any answers to stop them. our defense wasn't very good today, when we have played well this year our defense has played well. We didn’t do that today,” head coach John Groce said.
A few sentences later, the sentiment from Groce hadn't changed.
“We are disappointed because we played better than that, a lto better than that. And obviously we didn't have it today,” Groce said.
In fact, disappointed seemed to be the word of the day. Disappointed in their play. Disappointed in their tournament chances. Disappointed at the low energy they came out with. Overall, just disappointed.
“We are disappointed in the way we played, we practice better than that. We came out and punched back when they struck first but we couldn't make the second effort to come back," Nnanna Egwu said.
“You know, all these games, well over 1,000, never surprised by anything you see. The teams will just come out in a funk sometimes, and coaches have no control, players have no control. It's just difficult," Beilein said.
He continued, "It doesn't mean that tomorrow they couldn't beat us the same way. They're 19 years old, they're 20 years old. It's been a long season. Men's basketball plays the toughest, most rigorous schedule of any sport in college basketball, and kids go through a lot, getting up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning midweek. You don't know what's going to happen, particularly this time of the year."
Now, the Illini just sit, and wait until Sunday when the NCAA tournament field is released.
“We can’t control what the committee decides but we will look at the film tomorrow se where we can get better at and just wait to see where we end up," Rayvonte Rice said.