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Bracket Math: Illinois earns a bid

Even with sub-.500 league record, Illini could make tourney; Arizona a 1-seed

Updated: February 8, 2013, 11:39 AM ET
By Joe Lunardi | ESPN Insider

This edition of Bracket Math includes games through Thursday, Feb. 7. Rankings reflect an up-to-date S-curve from yours truly, posing as one hypothetical member of the NCAA men's basketball committee.

Notes on the "new" math:

• I have written previously about Iowa State's 1991-92 season, when the Cyclones became the only team to receive an at-large bid with a conference record worse than two games below .500. They were 5-9 that season in the old Big Eight (21-13 overall). Following their big win Thursday night over Indiana, it now seems possible, if not probable, that the Illinois Fighting Illini could repeat that history if they play .500 ball the rest of the way in the Big Ten.

That might sound surprising when you consider that the Illini are 3-7 in league play, good for ninth place in the conference, but just look at the wins they have picked up this season.

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