Illini Wonk
Friday, December 31, 2004
  Showdown in Sin City
In a battle of unbeatens, Illinois will face Cincinnati in the Championship game of the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. The contest is being billed as a rematch of the Illini's 92-68 rout of the Bearcats in the second round of the NCAAs last year. Despite their protestations to the contrary, the Las Vegas Review-Journal says that Cincy seeks to avenge NCAA tourney rout. The Chicago Tribune said the roles are reversed from last season and this year, Cincinnati has something to prove. College Sports says it will be a tough test for the Illini. Both the Bearcats and the Illini have a lot of information on the game in their official releases.

Illinois and Cincinnati both won their first three games of the round-robbin tournament. They both beat Longwood by 26 points. Illinois beat Northwestern State by 18; Cincinnati beat them by 16. In their first game of the season, Cincinnati beat Valparaiso by 18, while later in the season, Illinois easily handled Valpo 93-56.

Although the Bearcats are undefeated and gaining national recognition, they have yet to get a quality win so they have a lot riding on this game. Illinois has been criticized lately for not winning by the huge margins that they had been earlier in the season, s they have something to play for as well. It should be quite a game! Wish I could watch it, but I'll be following it online here.
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