Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My Final Thoughts on a Great Year!

This Illini team will always be remembered for its team play, motion offense, excellent guard play, stifling defense, and the long-ball. It should also be remembered for its heart and never say die attitude. We haven't seen that in a team in quite some time.

On so many occasions this year they could have mailed in the loss (at Wisconsin, at Michigan State, at Michigan, at Purdue, at Iowa, and against Arizona. Most times they rallied back on the strength of each other's shoulders and trust in their selfless play. There was no single superstar on this team. They were the hottest ticket in men's basketball this year right from the very beginning with impressive wins against some of the biggest names in the game.

But, there was always that one team lurking out there in the field of 65 that concerned me. Actually, Carolina had been on my radar screen since January. They had the system, the coach, the players, and the tradition to pull it off. And, they did.

So many numbers, figures, and statistics surround this team. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • 37-2; only 2 other teams can say that (Duke twice and UNLV).
  • But no other team has more NCAA tourney wins without a title to its name.
  • I don't know exactly how many 3's we took this year, but figure about 25 / game over the 39 games. We shot almost 40% as a team for the year from downtown.
  • 100 years of b-ball tradition. Over 1500 shool wins. Zero titles.
  • Name a better 3-guard backcourt in recent history than Head, Williams, and Brown.
  • #1 team in the land since December 7th; some 16 or 17 weeks in that spot.
  • 17 of the 37 wins came against 2005 tourney teams.
  • 12 for 40 from behind the ARC against UNC Monday night. I would have liked 14/40.

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