Fighting Illini Fail to Make NIT, Illinois State Plays Wednesday

March 11, 2012

The same collapse that cost Bruce Weber his job will keep Illinois out of the postseason.

Illinois (17-15, 6-12 Big Ten) was left out of the NIT on Sunday. Athletic Director Mike Thomas said after he fired Weber on Friday that the Illini wouldn't be part of the lower-level College Basketball Invitational or tournaments.

Weber was fired after his team collapsed over the season's final six weeks.

Some Illinois players reportedly wanted to skip the NIT even if Illinois had gotten a bid.

The snub completed a collapse in which Illinois sank from a likely NCAA tournament bid in mid-January. But after beating then-No. 5 Ohio State, the Illini lost 12 of 14.

This is the second year in the last five that Illinois has missed the postseason altogether.

Meanwhile, Illinois State will make its fourth appearance in the National Invitation Tournament in the past five seasons when it takes on Ole Miss Wednesday.

Story source: AP