Giving fans reasons to hope ... and despair

Illini consistently inconsistent this season

Updated: March 8, 2010, 12:11 AM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Three Illinois band members were discussing the Illini's chances for the NCAA tournament as they walked the exterior perimeter of Assembly Hall before Sunday's game with Wisconsin.

The one on the left talked about the team's recent losses to Ohio State and Purdue and felt the team hadn't played well enough in the past few weeks to reach the NCAA tournament. The one in the middle seemed to agree. Finally, as they approached the door, the third, the one on the right, ...

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