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Big Ten Notebook: Illinois advances to Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament

It hasn’t been a bad NCAA Tournament for the Big Ten.

For the first time since 2005, the Elie Eight will feature the Illinois Fighting Illini. On Thursday night, Illinois continued their championship run with a 72-69 win over Iowa State. In a hard-fought battle, the Big Ten conquered their latest challenge.

While Illinois has relied on its offense so far in the tournament, its defense shined on Thursday night. They held Iowa State to a 39 % shooting percentage and forced nine turnovers. While the rebound battle was close, Illinois took advantage of its second chances, recording 12 offensive rebounds.

Pray for the rims. pic.twitter.com/RFiZTXW6G5 https://t.co/fzqtuPfWhE

— Illinois Men’s Basketball (@IlliniMBB) March 29, 2024

As Illinois pulled off the upset, it was led by Terrence Shannon Jr. The Chicago native scored a team-high 29 points and added five rebounds to his resume. He also came through in the clutch with a steal and breakaway dunk in the closing seconds. Just like he has done all season, Shannon Jr. came through when needed.

“People who know Terrence know what a great competitor he is,” Illini coach Brad Underwood told ESPN.“He was dialed in mentally.”

On Saturday, Illinois will be in action for arguably its toughest test of the tournament so far. They will take on No.1 UConn at 6:09 p.m. So far in the tournament, the Huskies have dominated, winning every game by at least 15 points.

Story originally appeared on Rutgers Wire