ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi unveiled his first 2012 NCAA tournament bracket on Monday, and Illinois was the state's lone representative.
Lunardi had the Illini barely making it into the tournament, receiving a No. 11 seed and playing No. 6 Baylor in the round of 64. Illinois was a No. 9 seed in 2011, defeated UNLV in the round of 64 and lost to Kansas in its following game.
Lunardi had seven Big Teams in his bracketology. Illinois was joined by Ohio State (No. 1 seed), Purdue (No. 4), Wisconsin (No. 5), Michigan (No. 6), Michigan State (No. 9) and Indiana (No. 12). The Hoosiers last reached the tournament in 2008.
The Big East led the field with nine teams and was followed by the Big Ten and ACC with seven. Notre Dame was among the Big East teams not included in the bracket.