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Illinois left out of NIT, completing collapse

By David Mercer

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, March 11 2012 7:55 p.m. MDT

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas announces the firing of basketball head coach Bruce Weber during a news conference in Champaign, Ill., on Friday March 9, 2012.

News-Gazette, John Dixon) MANDATORY CREDIT, Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The same collapse that cost Bruce Weber his job will keep Illinois out of the postseason.

Illinois (17-15, 6-12 Big Ten) was left out of the NIT on Sunday. Athletic Director Mike Thomas said after he fired Weber on Friday that the Illini wouldn't be part of the lower-level College Basketball Invitational or collegeinsider.com tournaments.

Weber was fired after his team collapsed over the season's final six weeks.

Some Illinois players reportedly wanted to skip the NIT even if Illinois had gotten a bid.

The snub completed a collapse in which Illinois sank from a likely NCAA tournament bid in mid-January. But after beating then-No. 5 Ohio State, the Illini lost 12 of 14.

This is the second year in the last five that Illinois has missed the postseason altogether.

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