Illini Wonk
Sunday, March 13, 2005
  Illinois in the NCAA Tournament
When CBS announced the brackets for the NCAA Tournament, Illinois, at 32-1, earned the Top Overall Number One Seed and the #1 seed in the Chicago region. CBS SportsLine senior asked How can the 2005 NCAA bracket have four No. 1 seeds if the Chicago Region has four all by itself? Despite the tough road, Doyel still picks Illinois to win the region of doom and says they might just be the 2005 national champion. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, columnist Jeff Gordon concurs and says Illini won't have easy road to St. Louis. (In a dissenting opinion, Mike Lopresti calls the Chicago bracket probably the thinnest of the four).

For Illinois, it's Two goals down, one to go. As has been discussed on this blog previously, if Illinois goes to the final game, they will play two games in Indianapolis, two games in Chicago and two games in St. Louis. All of those sites are within a bus ride of Champaign and led AP writer Nancy Armour to pronounce Illinois couldn't have a better draw unless the NCAA tournament was moved to Assembly Hall.

Because Chicago is a Thursday/Saturday bracket, Illinois does not play the winner of the "play-in game" but instead looks forward to a first-round contest against the 20-12 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. When told of their opponent, the Knights' head coach said they are definitely feeding us to the lions. The Knights made it to the NCAA's by winning the Northeast Conference tournament. The game tips off at 8:40 p.m. CST. If nothing else, at least FDU earned an article in the New York Times.

So, how will the Illini do in the NCAA Tournament? Stewart Mandell of Sports Illustrated says Forecasting the 2005 NCAA tournament boils down to one central issue: Are you or are you not an Illinois believer? At, Ray Glier says Illinois has lost enough lately. The unbeaten season. Bruce Weber’s mom. They won’t lose again.

Illini Wonk's Thoughts

With the Chicago bracket named first, this blogger's first reaction was that Illinois drew an unreasonably tough draw to get to the Final Four. However, as the rest of the field unfolded, it became apparent that there are a lot of good teams this year and a lot of parity. Bottom line: there are no easy games left after the first round. With that said, the Illini have arguably the toughest teams to face before St. Louis. Within the last few weeks, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Boston College were all talked about as potential #1 seeds in the tournament and none of them will be easy wins.

Illini NCAA Tournament Bites...

...If you're curious about Illinois' history in the NCAA Tournament, has your fix...On their Bracketology special, five of the seven ESPN analysts picked Illinois to make the championship game with three (Jay Billas, Rick Majerus and Digger Phelps) picking them to win the title...On his blog, Mark Tupper tells Illinois fans not too worry, but to place great faith in our head coach...With all the talk this season about Illinoi's passing and defending, New York Times writer Pete Thamel (in at least his third article of the season on the Illini) says don't forget about the midrange jumper...Illinois is 13-0 vs. teams that made the NCAA Tournament...
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home
A college hoops blog dedicated to the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team.
Where will Illinois spend the 2007 postseason?
Watching on ESPN
Free polls from

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

Link to buy Dee Brown book Link to buy Leatherbound, Autographed Century of Orange and Blue book

Where do my $ go? Blogroll Me! Subscribe in NewsGator Online LiveMessage Alerts

Add this blog to my Technorati Favorites!
Your E-mail:

December 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / March 2007 /


Sports Publishing Logo

Listed on BlogShares

Powered by Blogger