fans complained A LOT about the officiating of the center match-up between UNC big man Sean May and Illinois post James Augustine in the 2005 national title game, but a critical call going against their favor with 40 seconds left tonight was probably much worse. In a one possession game with under a minute left, Miami was awarded an out of bounds call. However, the replay clearly showed it should have been Illini
basketball. But the NCAA doesn’t review out of bounds calls.
Even a Miami player admitted it, after his team advanced, beating Illinois 63-59.
fans were LIVID about this on Twitter, and even Miami fans were tweeting that Illinois got jobbed on the call. It turned the tide in crunch time. It was a simple black-or-white missed call at a crucial moment, while the ’05 title game had a series of questionable calls that favored Carolina and went against Illinois. These calls started in the early minutes. Augustine fouled out of that game after just nine minutes played while May looked like Shaquille O’Neal for a night (slightly aided by the referees, some in Illini
Nation might say) May and Augustine were both college star; both were drafted but neither amounted to anything in the NBA...
So how does Illinois basketball shoot 13% in a half, and win a NCAA Tourney game? Not just win, but win 57-49, almost double digits over #10 seed Colorado. The old cliche was "tale of two halves" was never more apt and it was a "strange game" as Illinois basketball coach John Groce said.
"As I said at the beginning, this team, it's been a fun team to coach, an interesting team. They found ways in a lot of different situations where their backs have been against the wall and today was another prime example of that," Groce said.
The Illini couldn't find their shot for almost twelve minutes of the second half, playing one of the worst halves you'll ever see in an NCAA Tournament game. This following a half in which Illinois basketball played as great a half as you'll see in the big dance.
So how did you get such an even bi-polar game? Schizophrenic or "split brain," as it's called. That's why it's "March madness" not March sanity. Illinois won in spite of a 23-0 run against them...
The #7 seed Illini hoops team begins their quest to win 6 in a row in the NCAA Tournament Friday afternoon versus #10 seed Colorado. Illini hoops may just be the greatest program in the history of college basketball NOT to have ever won the national championship. I'm not the first one to make this argument.
Illinois heads to Austin, the capitol of Texas,
where they'll play under the Friday night lights (well sort of, it'll be indoors but still night time in Texas when their game is done) needing the mantra of "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" to manifest the march madness cliche of "survive and advance." Illini hoops begins The Big Dance with a Texas two step
of the Colorado Buffaloes, and hopefully the winner of #2 seed Miami and #15 Pacific. Although highly unlikely, Pacific, the alma mater of former Illini football coach Ron Turner, would be a better draw.
hoops is making its 30th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, which is the second-highest number of Tournament appearances among Big Ten
schools, trailing only the Indiana Hoosiers
(37). Illinois ranks 13th among NCAA schools for most all-time Tournament appearances. This is Illini
hoops 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 14 years, and 25th in the last 33 years. The Illini
have compiled a 39-30 (.565) record all-time in NCAA Tournament games...
At 22-11, 8-10 in conference Illinois basketball has a real #10 or #11 seed in NCAA Tournament resume right now. Beating Minnesota 51-49 today on a Brandon Paul buzzer beater in the Big Ten Tournament
truly helps as the Gophers have an RPI of 24 and the nation's second highest strength of schedule. The Illini were likely in, even if they had lost. But the W means they don't have to sweat now at all on Selection Sunday.
Oh and you can watch video of said buzzer beater at the end of this post.
All bracketologies (projection of the NCAA Tournament field) will have the Illini in, if they didn't already.
WHAT WORKS: RPI 43, SOS 9 They have four big signature wins over #1 Indiana Hoosiers
Bulldogs #10 Ohio State Buckeyes
#14 Butler Bulldogs (neutral court). UI is the only team to win at the Kennel, and Butler is the only team other than the Illini to have wins over both the #1 and #3 teams in the country. Also two wins over Minnesota greatly enhances the resume...
hoops gave their home a proper 50th birthday party, and sent out their seniors with style. This Illinois senior class will leave a mark in the Illini
hoops record books, so it’s fitting the final home game was a victory. Illinois beat Nebraska 72-65 to improve to 21-9, 8-8 in Big Ten
play. More importantly, this win firmed up their resume for March Madness.
Barring an utter collapse, Illinois is in the big dance.
Senior guard Brandon Paul
, who finished with 14 point points, five assists and one turnover, teared up as the game ended and buried his head in his jersey as he crouched at Assembly Hall midcourt...
Tonight, Illinois basketball leads SportsCenter. Illinois Basketball is a trending term; so are the Illini and Tyler Griffey, who had his Jimmy Chitwood moment. (We’re talking about Hoosiers after all). The Illini stunned No. 1 Indiana with a 13-2 run to close the game, capped by the Griffey layup at the buzzer you can watch... Read more »
Last night the #23 Illini
lost at home to a Northwestern
team that has their coach squarely on the hot seat, is reeling from injuries and without their best player in Drew Crawford. The loss was the third in a row by double digits for the Illini
, and the three defeats have been even more lopsided than the scores indicate. This shouldn’t be happening to a team that was ranked in the top ten just a few short weeks ago...
After starting 12-0 the Illinois Fighting Illini
are 2-3 in their last 5. And one of those wins was rather ugly. A big reason for their recent struggles is the ramped up level of competition as Big Ten
play has begun. But it’s also they fact the team lives and dies by the three, and no one was more so than senior guard D.J. Richardson
. Of all his field goal attempts on the season, only 46 have been of the 2-point variety. The three is D.J.’s game so when it’s off, so is he, as are the Illini
Richardson has always been streaky, he’s had major struggles with his shot at various times during his college basketball
career, but this slump could be his worst. Or it seems that way since the Illini
are ranked so high and playing in so many high profile games?
Maybe it’s time for Coach John Groce to sub Joseph Bertrand in the lineup for Richardson...
This is what it’s like to rebound: both winning the battle on the glass and coming back from a loss. In their last three games (Mizzou, Auburn and Purdue
) the Illini
got owned on the backboards and went 1-2. In their Big Ten
opener Illinois got upset by a .500 Purdue
team. The loss was shocking, but the #11 Illini
recovered nicely, CRUSHING the #8 Ohio State Buckeyes
74-55 in their conference home opener. They won the battle of the boards 40-30.
It was their second win over a top ten team this season, and their most lopsided defeat of a top ten ranked Big Ten
team since 1954. Although it appears both teams in this one are over-ranked and overrated. Or it’s just that no one will be able to win on the road in the Big Ten
this year. Either way, it was Illinois’ best defensive effort of the year by far, and a career game for center Nnanna Egwu...
The Illinois Fighting Illini
suffered their first loss last night to Mizzou, but they’re still 12-1. And nationally ranked. I think any Illinois fan would have taken 12-1 at this point when the season started. This Illini
team will go as far as their seniors will take them. And I’m not talking about Tyler Griffey. Four year starter guards D.J. Richardson
and Brandon Paul
are the keys to the Illini
maintaining that top ranking and getting a high seed in March. And then doing something with it...