CHICAGO – Indiana will have a shot at revenge when it begins play in the Big Ten tournament at noon Friday.
The No. 3 Hoosiers (26-5), who are the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, will play No. 8 seed Illinois.
Illinois guard Brandon Paul hit a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to lead the No. 8 seed Illini to a 51-49 victory over No. 9 seed Minnesota in the first round Thursday at the United Center. Paul scored 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while the rest of the Illini went 8 for 40 from the floor.
"Obviously, he made a big play," Illinois coach John Groce said of Paul.
Illinois (22-11) scored a 74-72 win over Indiana (26-5) in the only meeting between the teams in the regular season on Feb. 7 in Champaign, Ill.
The Hoosiers led the Illini 41-29 at halftime and held a 69-59 lead with 4:21 to play before unraveling with forward Tyler Griffey breaking away for an uncontested layup off an inbounds play at the buzzer to give Illinois the win.
"They are playing really well right now, and we know they are going to come out swinging (Friday)," Griffey said after the win over Minnesota. "We'll be ready for it. It's on a neutral court, and it's the Big Ten tournament, anything can happen.
"Hopefully, we can feed off the momentum (the win over Minnesota) has given us."
Before Griffey's game-winning layup against IU, Illinois guard D.J. Richardson hit back-to-back three-pointers and tied the game at 70 with a jumper. The Hoosiers' Victor Oladipo, who was limited to nine points against the Illini, got the lead back with a layup with 37 seconds to play, but Paul tied the game with two free throws to set up Griffey's heroics.
"It was a big win for us," Richardson said. "But any team can lose any night. We got them that night. We were the better team. Some games down the stretch, we lost. It's the Big Ten. I would the say the best conference in the country. We just got to be prepared for (Friday). Indiana's a great team, and I know they will be ready to play us."
Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a statement released by the Hoosiers after the Illinois-Minnesota game that his team will be ready for the challenge Friday.
"When you're going against great talent, which this tournament is full of, you've got to stay engaged for 40 minutes," Crean said. "We have had a good week of practice and like I said last week, everything is a one-game season from here on out. That's how we are preparing."