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Gameday Central | Minnesota at No. 13 Illinois; 8 p.m., BTN

Feb. 28—This is another "can't lose" game for Illinois. A win really won't do much for the Illini's NCAA tournament résumé. Minnesota stands as a Quad III opponent. Beating the Gophers won't move the needle all that far.

But a loss? Another Quad III loss in Big Ten play? At home, no less?

That could move Illinois off the No. 4 seed line after movement in that direction started with last week's loss at Penn State. Per most bracketology, the Illini have the last No. 4 seed. For now.

Fending off Minnesota won't be as easy this season as it was in the first two seasons of the Ben Johnson era. The Gophers regressed — hard — last season. Nine wins total and just two in Big Ten play.

This Minnesota team is 17-10 overall and 8-8 in the Big Ten. The Gophers threatened an upset at Purdue earlier in the month and beat Penn State and Indiana. The outlier, at least of late, was Sunday's 73-55 loss at Nebraska.

Illinois, of course, is still the favorite. Per the metrics and the gambling line. A 12-point favorite in the latter. So it's just a matter of taking care of business, right?

Follow along with beat writer Scott Richey all night from State Farm Center to see if the Illini can do just that:

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