For the first time at this year's Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament, we have a game where one team has really outdistanced itself from another. And who would have believed it to be the No. 11 seed on top?
Illinois. Been there. Done that.
At halftime of our second quarterfinal matchup today, No. 11 seed Illinois has shocked No. 3 seed Michigan, leading by 21 at intermission, 37-16.
"And we're going to party like it's 2008," doesn't quite have the ring to it as Prince's "1999" classic, so please don't cue the music.
But this little run by the 11th-seeded Illini does remind us of their BTT journey in 2008. As the No. 9 seed, Illinois played all four days and fell by just two points to Purdue in the tournament final. To date, the Illini are the lowest-seeded team to have ever advanced to semifinals and finals of the Big Ten Tournament.
Counting this year, the No. 11 seed has advanced out of first-round action only three times, with all three of those occasions involving the two teams in this game. No. 11 Minnesota fell to No. 3 Illinois, 98-76, in the 1997 quarterfinals, while 11th-seeded Michigan lost 72-50 to third-seeded Purdue in the 2003 quarterfinals.
Twenty minutes to play, but we think Illinois' Jolette Law is still loving Conseco Fieldhouse!