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Mizzou No. 7 seed, Illini No. 9 seed in NCAA Tournament, both play Thursday

The Tigers and Illini both play Thursday night. SEMO will kick off the tournament on Tuesday as part of the First Four matchups in Dayton, Ohio.
Credit: AP

ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Tigers and Illinois Fighting Illini will be dancing this March after both claimed slots in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.

The Tigers got a No. 7 seed in the South Region. They will face off with Utah State in Sacramento, California, Thursday. Illinois, the No. 9 seed in the West Region, will face off with Arkansas.

In their first season under new head coach Dennis Gates, the Mizzou Tigers were 24-9  with an 11-7 record in the SEC. They were defeated by No. 1 overall seed Alabama in the semifinals of the SEC tournament on Saturday.

The Illini were 20-12 with an 11-9 record in conference. They were defeated by Penn State in their first game of the Big 10 Conference Tournament. Penn State, the No.10 seed in the Big 10 Tournament, went on an improbable run to the finals, but was defeated by Purdue.

Both Mizzou and Illinois will have tall tasks in the second round if they manage to advance. Illinois would take on defending champion Kansas in the second round and Mizzou would face No. 2 seed Arizona if the heavily favored Jayhawks and Wildcats take care of business.

Mizzou won't be the only Missouri team in the tournament this year. Southeast Missouri State punched its ticket to the Big Dance with an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament victory on March 4.

The Redhawks, who finished with a 19-16 record, will be on the floor in Dayton for the First 4. They will take on Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Tuesday for the right to play top-seeded Alabama in the first round.

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