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...
The Illini are headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take on their former coach Lon Kruger and the UNLV Running Rebels in the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament, college basketball‘s premier event. They’ll be seeded #9, the Rebs are seeded eighth. Illinois own a 2-4 neutral court record this season, all NCAA Tournament games... Read more »