Can Illini regroup in Chicago?

Can Illini regroup in Chicago?

CHAMPAIGN — Could this week's Big Ten tournament be reminiscent of 2016 in Indianapolis. That Illinois team had a Wednesday start but took down a short-handed Minnesota squad before upsetting a in full decline Iowa.

This year in Chicago? The Illini get a reeling Northwestern team that doesn't have a lot of depth and has lost 11 of its last 12 games. A win Wednesday against the Wildcats would then pit Illinois against ... an in full decline once again Iowa.

So the Wednesday start isn't exactly the worst thing for Illinois from a purely basketball standpoint even if fans aren't thrilled about the Illini finishing in the bottom four of the Big Ten yet again.

Of course, starting Wednesday has its challenges. The only way Illinois' season extends beyond this week in the Windy City is a Big Ten tournament championship. Five wins in five days. Not impossible, but not entirely probable either.