Illini Wonk
Saturday, March 18, 2006
  Illini ground Air Force, face U-Dub
Sharp-shooting from freshman Jamar Smith propelled the Illinois Fighting Illini past Air Force and into a second round NCAA Tournament game against the University of Washington.

Dick Vitale called this his "most compelling matchup of the day." He said "I think Illinois will have to much" for Washington and will get the job done. Gennaro Filice of predicts that Washington will ride 36 points from Brandon Roy and win 86-81.

Roy will be the primary concern for the Illini and Brian Randle will draw the defensive assignment; one of his toughest of the season. As Mark Tupper put it, Illinois' hopes of reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament depend largely on how well Brian Randle can stop him.

Another intriguing storyline is UW guard Justin Dentmon, a freshman from Carbondale, Ill. who is looking forward to the matchup with the Illini.

Can the Illini get the win? Forward James Augustine reaches into his bag of sports cliches and says: You have to beat the best to be the best. Indeed. Tip-off is at 4:30 p.m.
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