Bracketology 2012: Illinois, Northwestern On NCAA Tournament Fringe

It's been a rough month for the Illinois Fighting Illini, who have lost five consecutive games in Big Ten play. Saturday's blowout loss at Nebraska represented a huge blow to the team's NCAA tournament hopes, and in the latest bracket projection from SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean, the Illini are out of the field. But Dobbertean does list Illinois among the last four teams out of the tournament, which means he feels there's a chance Illinois could work its way back in.

Related: Bracketology 2012: Michigan State Conquers The Top Line

ESPN's Joe Lunardi is less forgiving of Illinois' recent play -- the bracketologist does not have the Illinois in the bracket or among his list of the last eight teams left out.

As for Northwestern, both Dobbertean and Lunardi have the Wildcats in the field as of Feb. 20, but their position is far from secure at this point. Dobbertean projects Northwestern as a No. 11 seed, while Lunardi projects the team as a 12-seed and one of the last four in the tournament.

For more on Illinois basketball, visit SB Nation's Illinois blog Hail To The Orange. For more on Northwestern basketball, visit SB Nation's Northwestern blog Sippin On Purple. For more news and notes from around the country, visit SB Nation's men's basketball news hub.

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