Fans say team will rebound

By Se Young Lee

University students remain confident in the men’s basketball team’s chances in the NCAA Tournament, taking the disappointment of Sunday’s loss against Ohio State as a mere bump in the road.

Michael VanAcker, freshman in business, said he found out about the loss not long after he woke up.

“That ruined my birthday,” he said. “That was really frustrating.”

Matt Little, sophomore in LAS, said the loss “kind of sucked,” but said the game wasn’t pivotal for the Illini.

“(It was the) last game of the season, and we already won the Big Ten Championship,” he said. “It was more a matter of pride than anything. You could tell by (the Illini players’) reaction that it meant a lot more to them than it did for us.”

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    Matt Simmons, junior in LAS, said he considered the game as one of the toughest on the Illini’s schedule.

    “This was one of the games I thought they could lose,” Simmons said. “Because OSU isn’t going to the tournament, this was like their championship game.”

    Despite the loss, the Illini remain at the top of the AP and ESPN/USA Today Polls. The Illini will still be the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and it is very likely that they will be one of the number one seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

    “It would have been good to see them win in that situation,” Simmons said. “But it’s hard to stay motivated once you clinch the Big Ten Championship and the other team’s playing their most important game of the season.”

    Little did not think the Illini’s chances in the NCAA Tournament will be affected by the loss.

    “It’s not going to throw them off the rails or anything,” he said. “They’re gonna be fine.”