Illinois St. gets NIT bid; Illinois out

Updated: March 11, 2012, 11:37 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Illinois State was selected to play in the NIT on Sunday while Illinois' season came to an end without a postseason invitation.

Illinois State (20-13) received its fourth NIT bid in five years after recently making a run to the Missouri Valley tournament championship game. The Redbirds are a No. 7 seed and will play at No. 2 Ole Miss (20-13) on Wednesday. The winner will either play Stanford or Cleveland State.

Illinois, which was considered a NIT bubble team, was shut out of postseason play for the second time in five years. The Illini also didn't play in a postseason tournament in 2008.

Bruce Weber was fired as Illinois' coach on Friday after the Illini lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday. Illinois finished its season 17-15 overall and 6-12 in the Big Ten.

"Any time the University of Illinois is not involved in postseason play it hurts, so we're disappointed," Illinois interim head coach Jerrance Howard said in a statement. "On behalf of the entire program, I'd like to recognize our two departing seniors, Sam Maniscalco and Jean Selus, for their hard work, effort and sacrifice. For our returning players, this should serve as motivation heading into the offseason so we don't feel this way next year on Selection Sunday."

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.