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  1. NCAAB

NCAAB - US Sports: Murray takes positives from Illini loss

Iowa Hawkeyes forward Keegan Murray feels his team can draw confidence from their defeat to Illinois as they prepare for the postseason.

Iowa are 17/4 to win the Big Ten Conference Tournament outright and 20/1 to make the final four of the NCAAB Championship.

Lead slips away

The Hawkeyes slipped to a 74-72 defeat to Illinois in their final regular season campaign but held a 15-point lead at one stage and missed a few chances to win late on, including missing a potential game-winning shot in the closing stages.

Illinois finished as the top seed in the Big Ten, sharing the title with Wisconsin Badgers, and are rated as possibly candidates to go all the way and take the championship.

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Confidence still intact

As such, Murray feels his teammates should head to the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis in confident mood as he believes that performance against Illinois proves they can compete with anyone in their conference.

"It just come down to the little things," Murray said, via Hawk Central. "We went neck and neck with the Big Ten [regular season] champs so it's just little things that can make us better.

"At the end of the day you just have to look back on it and know that we're right there and can compete with any team in the country. Our whole team feels that way and just going into March with our heads held high." 

He added: "This loss will help us in a way going into the Big Ten tournament.

"Just fighting adversity throughout the entire game, at the end of the day we have to pull it in March because it's win or go home. So just got to learn from it, go to Indianapolis and do our best there." 

Iowa, the fifth seed in the Big Ten, will open their postseason campaign on Thursday against the winner of Wednesday's game between Nebraska and Northwestern.

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