CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Mike Tisdale says Illinois will be fighting for its post season life when it tips off at home against Iowa.

The senior center said the Saturday game holds a key to Illinois making its way to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two seasons.

The Illini (17-11, 7-8) have lost two of three including a 19-point beating at Ohio State. It was the latest low for a season that’s included losses to Indiana and Illinois-Chicago.

Illinois has three games left plus the Big Ten tournament to try and prove it belongs in the NCAAs.

One of those games is at No. 14 Purdue. But the Iowa game and another against the Hoosiers are at home.

The Illini and Hawkeyes (10-17, 3-12) tip off at 7 p.m. local time, Saturday.

Copyright Associated Press


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