Illini Wonk
Thursday, March 31, 2005
  Illinois in the NCAA Final Four...
...and Illini Wonk is cursed by bad timing. How, you might ask? I don't normally like to talk about myself, but loyal readers must be noticing that while the Illini are rapidly approaching their biggest weekend of the last decade and a half, posts on Illini Wonk have dwindled.

There's an explanation. Believe it or not, Illini Wonk actually has a day job (if more of you visited the advertisers on this blog then perhaps that could be avoided) and that day job has been a time-hog lately. That involved crunching big-time for a new-business pitch on Tuesday and wouldn't you know, they fell for it and Wonk had to start working on the account the next day. Such is life. They say good things come in threes, so here's hoping that means a national championship for the orange & blue.

Okay. Enough about the blogger and more from the blog. Since you may have missed the news from the past few days, surf over to IB's daily news and catch up on the in-state news. While you're at it, don't forget Mark Tupper's blog. He's promised to post every day until the season ends. While there's way too much to hit all the highlights, there are a couple that are worth noting.

First, Iowa is the only team to play every Final Four team this season and coach Steve Alford thinks that the Illini will win. Fellow Big Ten coaches Dan Monson and Bill Camody also rave about the team. As for Thad Matta, he's in USA TODAY giving tips on how to beat them.

Big Ten Wonk salutes the 2005 Illinois Fighting Illini for their season thus far. Elsewhere in the blogosphere, illinitalk has been taking the media pulse and illinigirl has more Illinois coverage.

At, Andy Katz says that if the game is on the line, the consensus pick for who you'd want to have handling the ball is Illinois' Deron Williams. Agree or disagree? Go vote.

As for the game, CBS SportsLine gives Illinois a slight edge over Louisville. While their senior sports-writer says their three guards may be the best in any college basketball season, they ultimately believe the edge will come from Augustine in the paint. Sports Illustrated Illinois gets the edge and that James Augustine is the x factor in their game against the Cardinals.

Closely following the media talking points in a streaming interview here, Clark Kellog also calls Augustine the x factor (along with Roger Powell) before picking the Illini to advance. Kyle Veltrop of The Sporting News must have missed the press briefing, as he is content to simply heap praise on Augustine.

That's all for tonight. Back to work. The day job that is.
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