The double-bye hasn’t gone bye-bye for the Iowa men’s basketball team yet.
Illinois’ 71-63 loss at Ohio State Thursday night means Sunday’s 6 p.m. Iowa-Illinois game in Champaign is for the No. 4 seed in next week’s Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis. Which means the winner will bypass Thursday’s games and go straight to Friday’s quarterfinals. Both teams had already won their way out of Wednesday’s play-in games.
The Illini fell to 12-7 in the Big Ten Thursday and almost surely had their regular-season championship hopes dashed. Maryland, Michigan State and Wisconsin are 13-6 and would all have to lose their finales to open the door for the Illini. Wisconsin closes at Indiana Saturday. Maryland hosts Michigan and Michigan State is home against Ohio State Sunday afternoon.
Iowa is 11-8, tied for fifth place with Ohio State and Penn State. Iowa would secure the No. 4 seed if it beats the Illini because it would hold the tiebreaker if it finished at 12-8 along with Illinois, Ohio State and Penn State.
The Hawkeyes beat Illinois 72-65 in Iowa City last month.