The Boise State men’s basketball team already knew who it was going to play, but after waiting almost 20 hours to find out when, the National Invitation Tournament officially set the tip for the Broncos’ second-round matchup.
Boise State will play at Illinois at 7 p.m. MT Monday, and the game will be televised on ESPN. It will be the Broncos’ third appearance on the channel since 1999 (Big West championship game, and at Kentucky in 2013).
The Illini (19-14) hammered Valparaiso 82-57 on Tuesday with interim coach Jamall Walker after John Groce was fired Saturday. Illinois finished ninth in the Big Ten, though it swept Northwestern and beat Michigan and Michigan State once apiece.
Boise State coach Leon Rice said he watched some of Illinois’ game before the Broncos (20-11) played at Utah on Tuesday.
“I know their situation with coach Groce, and I know him. It’s unfortunate, but they rallied and played great (Tuesday),” Rice said.
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Illinois is 13-5 this season at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill.
Senior guard Malcolm Hill (17.0 ppg) and senior center Maverick Morgan (10.1 ppg) are the team’s only double-digit scorers, though three players average 8.0 to 8.4. Including Morgan, three regulars are 6-foot-10 or 6-11, which could challenge the Broncos, especially if sophomore David Wacker, who injured his shoulder Tuesday, is unavailable. His status is undetermined.
This is Boise State’s fifth appearance in the NIT, and it is 4-4 all-time, winning one game in 1987 and two in 2004 in addition to Tuesday’s 73-68 victory at Utah in Salt Lake City.
The Broncos have played Illinois once previously: Dec. 5, 2009, an 84-77 loss in Champaign.
National Invitation Tournament Glance
All Times MDT
Tuesday, March 14
Illinois 82, Valparaiso 57
Mississippi 91, Monmouth 83
Oakland 74, Clemson 69
Georgia Tech 75, Indiana 63
Colorado State 81, College of Charleston 74
Richmond 71, Alabama 64
Boise St. 73, Utah 68
CS Bakersfield 73, California 66
Wednesday, March 15
Syracuse 90, UNC-Greensboro 77
Belmont 78, Georgia 69
UCF 79, Colorado 74
Akron 78, Houston 75
TCU 66, Fresno St. 59
Iowa 87, South Dakota 75
Illinois State 85, UC Irvine 71
Texas-Arlington 105, BYU 89
Syracuse (19-14) vs. Mississippi (21-13)
Georgia Tech (18-15) vs. Belmont (23-6)
Cal State Bakersfield (23-9) vs. Colorado State (24-11)
Texas-Arlington (26-8) vs. Akron (27-8)
Illinois State (28-6), vs. UCF (22-11)
Boise St. (20-11) vs. Illinois (19-14)
Iowa (19-14) vs. TCU (20-15)
Richmond (21-12) vs. Oakland (25-8)
At Madison Square Garden, New York
Tuesday, March 28
Semifinal, 7 p.m.
Semifinal 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 29
Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.