Despite pleas and frustrations from Illinois AD Josh Whitman, the Big Ten award its regular season championship to Michigan last week.

The Wolverines were given the title over the Illini by virtue of winning percentage, despite playing three fewer games due to COVID-19.

Although Whitman’s efforts were rebuffed by the Big Ten office, coach Brad Underwood said Wednesday that he appreciated the support.

“We all long for relationships with people that will fight for you and will go to battle for you when you truly believe you are right. Josh was right there,” Underwood said.

Underwood said he would find a way to make sure this team was recognized in some fashion after the season.

He also made a point to clarify that he wasn’t trying to take anything away from Michigan’s year.

Illinois will face the winner of Indiana-Rutgers in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday.

Illinois and Michigan could end up meeting in the championship game of the conference tournament on Sunday. The Illini won their only meeting this season — 76-53 back on March 2.

Selection Sunday is on March 14.