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Big Ten Tournament Bracket 2011: Michigan Pulls Off Comeback Win Against Illinois

With 8:35 to go in the second half, Michigan trailed Illinois by a score of 51-39. Needing a win to ensure their return to the NCAA tournament, the Wolverines were in some trouble, to say the very least. Their offense was sputtering, and defensively they were no match for Illinois.

This was all before what I'm just going to go ahead and call "The Run." Evan Smotrycz nailed a pair of threes with a Darius Morris layup in between. Morris made another layup and then a jumper to tie the game up at 51 with 3:31 to go. Illinois finally scored some points with a pair of free throws, but Michigan answered with two from Morris. Then Tim Hardaway Jr., playing in front of his father, drained a three-pointer with 1:47 to go. Illinois made a jumper on the next possession, but Hardaway nailed two free throws to keep the lead at three points.

After an Illinois miss and Smotrycz bricking the front end of a one-and-one, Michigan's Zack Novak grabbed a rebound on another missed shot by the Fighting Illini. He was fouled and calmly made both free throws. Michigan now led 60-55, and that is what the final score would end up being after a Stu Douglass steal iced the victory.

After going down 51-39, Michigan proceeded to go on a 21-4 run. The Wolverines woke up just in time and have now pretty much locked up a spot in the 2011 NCAA tournament. The victory over Illinois also advances them to the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten tournament, where they will take on the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes. A win against OSU would improve their seed in the Big Dance, whereas a loss wouldn't do too much damage. With the way other bubble teams have played, Michigan's win today is the exclamation point on their resume.

Here is a look at the updated Big Ten tournament bracket:

No. 1 Ohio State (beat Northwestern, 67-61 in OT, in quarterfinals) vs. No. 4 Michigan (beat Illinois, 60-55, in quarterfinals)


No. 2 Purdue vs. No. 7 Michigan State (beat Iowa, 66-61, in first round)

No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Penn State (beat Indiana, 61-55, in first round)

The night session of the Big Ten tournament will determine the other semifinal. First Purdue faces Michigan State, and later Wisconsin will take on Penn State.

For more on the 2011 Big Ten tournament, check out SB Nation Detroit's StoryStream.