Illinois advance to NCAA March Madness

Jamaican basketball player Kofi Cockburn and the University of Illinois will head to the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball March Madness tournament as champions of the Big 10 conference.

Illinois captured the title yesterday, defeating Ohio State University in overtime 91-88 to win their third conference title, and the first since 2005, securing an automatic bid to the tournament. Cockburn, who returned for his sophomore season after initially declaring for last year’s NBA draft, finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Cockburn was in foul trouble but got help from the bench, as they scored 41 points to help close out the win.

Cockburn has averaged 15 points and nine rebounds in his second season, the only player in the NCAA to do, and is second in double-doubles. Additionally, he was recently named to the first-team All-Big 10 as well as the Sporting News second-team All American.

The 68-team tournament bracket was announced yesterday, with Illinois given the number one seed in the Midwest region. Their first-round opponent will be against 16th seed Drexel University, winners of the Colonial Athletic Association Conference.