In a game that saw eight lead changes, the Hurricanes simply weren't able to put away the Fighting Illini like many had expected from the No. 2 seed.
Head coach Jim Larranaga said before halftime that his team wasn't playing real good basketball. Things didn't get much better in the second half, but the Canes were good enough to advance over the 7th-seeded Illini.
Rion Brown was a pleasant surprise for the Hurricanes in this game, pacing the Canes with 21 points and five rebounds. That's as good a game that he's played all season. At one point there was a nine-point stretch in the first half that were all scored by Brown and Kenny Kadji, who finished the game with 10 points.
Brandon Paul's 18 points for Illinois wasn't enough for the Illini to pull off the upset.