Michigan defeated Illinois, 60-55, in the quarterfinals of the Big 10 Tournament, likely clinching an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament and forcing Illinois to sweat a bit. The Wolverines rallied from a 12-point deficit with 8:35 to play to pick up the win.
Michigan trailed 51-39 after a three-pointer by Brandon Paul, but rallied to score the next 12 points, eventually tying the score at 51 with 3:31 remaining. The Wolverines then took the lead for good when Evan Smotrycz stole the ball from Mike Tisdale, which eventually led to a three-pointer by Tim Hardaway Jr. with 1:51 remaining. The Illini had two chances to tie the game, but failed on both of them in the final minute. First, Jerome Richardson missed a three, then Paul missed a jumper with 13 seconds left after Michigan missed a free throw that would have pushed the lead to four.
Michigan now moves to 20-12 and will face No. 1 seed Ohio State in the semifinals. Illinois falls to 19-13, and while its place in the NCAA Tournament field is likely secure, it will still have a nice long sweat come Sunday.
Quarterfinals: Friday, March 11
No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes defeats Northwestern, 67-61 (OT)
No. 4 Michigan Wolverines defeats No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini, 60-55
No. 2 Purdue Boilermakers vs. Michigan State, 6:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
No. 3 Wisconsin Badgers vs. Penn State 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Semifinals: Saturday, March 12
Ohio State vs. quarterfinals game 2 winner, 1:40 p.m., CBS
Quarterfinals game 3 winner vs. quarterfinals game 4 winner, 25 minutes after first semifinal, CBS
Championship game: Sunday, March 13
Semifinals winners, 9, ESPN
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