Illini, Salukis represent Illinois in NCAA tourney

March Madness has arrived. The NCAA basketball tournament is under way. Sixty-five teams are hoping for the chance to be one of the two left on championship Monday. The final game of the tournament will be played in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome April 2.

Two teams from Illinois and two from Wisconsin will represent our area in the “Big Dance.”

The University of Wisconsin (29-4) is the No. 2 seed in the Midwestern bracket. They will tip off against Texas A&M (25-6) Friday, March 16 in Chicago.

The other team from our neighboring state to the north is Marquette University (24-9). They are seeded eighth in the East Region. The Golden Eagles will face the Spartans from Michigan State (22-11) in their opening round matchup tomorrow (Thursday, March 15) in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini (23-11) and Southern Illinois University Salukis (27-6) are carrying the torch for the Land of Lincoln. Illinois will play their first-round game tomorrow (Thursday, March 15) in Columbus, Ohio, against Virginia Tech (21-11).

Also in Columbus Thursday, SIU will square off against Holy Cross (25-8). Ironically, if both Southern and Illinois win their opening-round games, they will meet one another in the second round Sunday, March 18.

Two other teams from Illinois also qualified for post-season play. Granted, it’s not in the “Big Dance.” It’s more like the junior prom, The National Invitational Tournament. Both Bradley University (21-12) from Peoria and DePaul (18-13) from Chicago will try to win it all in the stepsister tourney. Both teams are in action today (Wednesday, March 14). Bradley is a No. 4 seed and plays Providence (18-12). DePaul earned a No. 3 seed and meets Hofstra (22-9).

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the March 14-20, 2007, issue

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