CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Colleges :: Illinois among five NCAA locks
Not quite. I'm not quite sure why Herb Gould would make such a statement. If he pays any attention at all he would know that Illinois is probably in right now but far from a lock.
If Illinois loses Saturday and in their opening round BT tournament game they will not be an at-large selection. I don't think this will happen, but it is certainly possible. Therefore, they are not a lock in any sense of the word.
Even the one expert Gould consults, Jerry Palm of collegeRPI.com, lists Illinois as an 11 seed, which should tell you all you need to know about their "lock" status.
There are at least 30 websites the make bracket predictions and a majority of them have Illinois as one of the last teams in. My guess is Gould spends so much time actually travelling and watching games that he doesn't get to do a lot of bracketology research. In this case, the blogger sitting at home in his pajamas is more likely to have an informed opinion than the reporter on the scene.