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Illinois, Indiana State head to NIT

2014-03-16T21:00:00Z 2014-03-16T21:11:19Z Illinois, Indiana State head to NITThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 16, 2014 9:00 pm  • 

Illinois will play in the postseason, with a Wednesday game against Boston University in the National Invitation Tournament.

The Illini (19-14, 7-11 Big Ten) were selected as a No. 2 seed in the NIT on Sunday. They'll face a seventh-seeded Terriers team (24-10, 15-3 Patriot League).

The NIT bid is a consolation prize for an Illini team that at one point lost eight straight and fell to the bottom of the Big Ten.

Renovation of the State Farm Center will keep Illinois from playing a home game in the NIT. The $165 million project is expected to be completed in late 2016.

In a tough season the Illini have been a good road team. They are 5-2 on the road since Feb. 9.

Arkansas will return to the postseason for the first time since 2008 when it faces Indiana State in the National Invitation Tournament.

The Razorbacks (21-11), who last played in the NIT in 1997, are a No. 3 seed in the tournament and will host the sixth-seeded Sycamores (23-10) on Tuesday night.

No. 1 Florida 61, Kentucky 60: Top-ranked Florida capped a perfect run through the Southeastern Conference when Kentucky failed to get off a shot on its final possession, allowing the Gators to escape with the victory in the league championship game.

Florida (32-2) built a 16-point lead early in the second half, but Kentucky nearly pulled off an improbable comeback to hand the Gators their first loss since early December. Two missed free throws gave the Wildcats (24-10) a final possession, but James Young slipped trying to drive into the lane.

The Gators extended their school-record winning streak to 26 games. Patric Young and Michael Frazier II led Florida with 14 points apiece, while Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather had 11 each.

Kentucky was paced by Aaron Harrison with 16 points.

No. 6 Virginia 72, No. 7 Duke 63: Jabari Parker put on another one-man show, throwing down dunks and hitting enough shots to single-handedly keep No. 7 Duke in the game.

But going up against a determined Virginia defense that had stopped him before, it wasn't enough to give the Blue Devils their 20th ACC tournament title.

The sixth-ranked Cavaliers beat Duke in the title game after withstanding Parker's best late charge and clamping down on the Blue Devils down the stretch.

Parker finished with 23 points on 9-of-24 shooting for Duke (26-8), but only made it to the free throw line four times.

Duke as a team was just 7 of 11 from the line while Virginia was 25 of 38.

Saint Joseph's 65, No. 23 VCU 61: Langston Galloway scored 19 points and hit yet another huge 3-pointer, and Saint Joseph's beat No. 23 VCU to win its first Atlantic 10 tournament title since 1997.

The fourth-seeded Hawks arrived in Brooklyn on the NCAA tournament bubble. They all but clinched an at-large berth with a win over fellow bubble team Dayton in Friday's quarterfinals on Galloway's go-ahead 3, then made that moot by capturing the conference's automatic bid.

The second-seeded Rams have reached the A-10 tourney finals in both years in the league but lost both times.

Fellow senior Ronald Roberts had 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting and 11 rebounds for Saint Joseph's.

Rob Brandenberg led VCU with 18 points, but Galloway got just enough separation on him to hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with more than two minutes left.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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