Illini's Big Ten tournament run ends abruptly

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The Wolverines were stuck wearing the simple, practice tank tops - no players' names on the back - against ninth-seeded IL (18-14) because their proper uniforms, along with everyone's suitcases, were trapped under the plane that slid off a runway during an aborted takeoff Wednesday, according to MI spokesman Kurt Svoboda.

The Wolverines will now face the victor of the Minnesota-Michigan State matchup in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal round tomorrow (Saturday, March 11) at 1 p.m. inside the Verizon Center.

Wywrot stopped. "All of a sudden, he said to me, 'Daddy, why are you crying?'" It's the first time in coach Thad Matta's career that he hasn't reached 20 victories in a season, including his previous 12 at Ohio State, three at Xavier and one at Butler. He did it in Thursday's win vs. Illinois, too.

Groce and Matta are long-time friends and allies who exchange frequent text messages, but Groce said job security isn't something that comes up much.

"I'm about to fly home and I'll handle that when that comes, " Sanders said. He smiled. "But I guess I can understand why".

The airplane carrying Michigan's coaching staff, players, cheerleaders and others - "Children, families", Irvin said - aborted its takeoff Wednesday.

As soon as the plane stopped, the doors were opened and the slides came out. But, you know, they made some nice plays at the end of the day. Like many on the plane, he didn't get much sleep Wednesday before the 6 a.m. wake-up call in MI for a basketball game that tipped off six-and-a-half hours later in Washington D.C. We ran through the fence and I'm like, 'Oh no, the ditch is coming.' We hit the ditch, got stuck. Beilein scheduled a walk-through but when the team gathered in to the hotel ballroom, he decided against it. Now in its third season in the Big Ten, it's the first time the Scarlet Knights have won consecutive conference games. Who was OK to get on a plane again? This usually does not bother me because I benefit from their existence.

It's been a weird, down year in the Big Ten. "I had to go through a lot of adversity first".

The victor will face No. 10 IN or No. 2 Wisconsin IN the tournament semifinals at around 3:30 PM Saturday, Mar 11.

He paused. "I'm still kind of speechless right now".

Walton thought that playing in practice uniforms helped relax the Wolverines from the start. They were, as Beilein described his team a few times, "so connected". All the cathartic emotions from the harrowing experience played out on a basketball court as if the Wolverines were in a make-it-take-it pickup game. "Cuts and bruises and a lot of fright", Beilein said.

The victor of today's Michigan vs. Purdue game will face the victor of Michigan State vs. Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. Heck, the Wolverines even got to wear their proper blue road jerseys - with their last names printed on the back and everything - to face 13th-ranked Purdue in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

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