15th Anniversary of the Illini Elite Eight comeback vs. Arizona

#26
Once you see the game about 25 different times, you start to pay attention to new things. Has anyone else ever been bothered by how indifferent Nick Smith looked on the bench? I get that he probably wasn’t happy with his playing time, but that was on him, and that time called for him to be a good teammate. That’s really annoyed me the last handful of times I’ve watched it.
 
#27
Once you see the game about 25 different times, you start to pay attention to new things. Has anyone else ever been bothered by how indifferent Nick Smith looked on the bench? I get that he probably wasn’t happy with his playing time, but that was on him, and that time called for him to be a good teammate. That’s really annoyed me the last handful of times I’ve watched it.
One of my biggest takeaways from the game. A terrible look and I’m sure he regrets it to this day.
 
#28
Has anyone else ever been bothered by how indifferent Nick Smith looked on the bench? I get that he probably wasn’t happy with his playing time, but that was on him, and that time called for him to be a good teammate. That’s really annoyed me the last handful of times I’ve watched it.
To be fair, he always sort of had that look on his face. Especially when he knew he screwed up on something.
 
#30
Once you see the game about 25 different times, you start to pay attention to new things. Has anyone else ever been bothered by how indifferent Nick Smith looked on the bench? I get that he probably wasn’t happy with his playing time, but that was on him, and that time called for him to be a good teammate. That’s really annoyed me the last handful of times I’ve watched it.
Good point, completely agree about Nick Smith, but on the other hand how great it is to see Calvin Brock, Warren Carter, Shaun Pruitt, Brian Randle....am I missing anyone....and the rest of the bench going absolutely nuts?

I was probably in the second to last row of Allstate that night and agree with everyone about the atmosphere. The I-L-L/I-N-I chant has never sounded better than during the timeout after Deron's tying 3
 
#31
Chicagoland
I was helping my brother move. I recall being extremely mad down double digits with less than 5 minutes to go, listening to it on the radio and telling my brother, "At least we don't have to watch it"... just to end up rushing back to his old apartment where the TV still worked and watching the last 3 minutes and over time sitting on the floor, about a foot from the TV.
I just watched it again last week. Even 15 years later, down 8 with less than a minute to go, I found myself asking "How in the world will they pull this off?" Other than the Cubs wining the World Series in 2016, this was probably the greatest moment of my personal sports fandom.
And Bill Murray was at both Game 7 and ILL/AZ. Some guys have all the luck.
 
#32
Rockford, Illinois
This game is being replayed on BTN right now if anyone wants to watch again! ;) :illinois:
 
#33
I absolutely love Ingram's pic to free up Deron for the last 3 in reg. Also, I had forgot how big Lu was in this game, especially on D. What fun to watch. Makes me happy and sad at the same time. We are so blessed to have had these guys and the flyin Illini. Hat's off to this years team as well. Definitely not as talented as those two all time great teams (teams any real basketball fan would admit were deserving of a NC), but very fun to watch in their own right. I really think BU is the right guy to take us to the NC. He showed me a lot this year with his willingness to change up his D, and the recruiting is rolling.
 
Likes: Illini Pride
#34
We Ready
Merced CA
I was at a wedding reception helping my wife with her budding photography business. I'd check the bar from time to time getting more and more exasperated. I finally gave up and complained to my wife all the way home. Like a person not being able to look away from a car accident, I went to ESPN to confirm the expectation, because, you know, that's the way we are. When I saw the result, I started screaming and dancing. I went to the DVR, and started watching the game at midnight. Pissed off the wife something fierce. Fortunately, she was so tired, she fell asleep after about 5 minutes. Felt better than watching us beat Magic.
 
Likes: Illini Pride
#35
Does this team go undefeated in 2019-2020? The team was basically all guards and 4's. I believe they do, but the weakness is the 5 spot. No way Augustine/Carter/Ingram can play 1:1 with the centers from this year. But watching the defense these guys played was so impressive. Help defense was fluid and each player knew where to go and it was beautiful to watch. So while 1:1 they may be lacking, the help defense would've helped neutralize the advantage players like Garza would've had against the 2005 team.
 
#36
We Ready
Merced CA
Does this team go undefeated in 2019-2020? The team was basically all guards and 4's. I believe they do, but the weakness is the 5 spot. No way Augustine/Carter/Ingram can play 1:1 with the centers from this year. But watching the defense these guys played was so impressive. Help defense was fluid and each player knew where to go and it was beautiful to watch. So while 1:1 they may be lacking, the help defense would've helped neutralize the advantage players like Garza would've had against the 2005 team.
Wasn't enough help against May (and the refs)
 
#37
And Bill Murray was at both Game 7 and ILL/AZ. Some guys have all the luck.
I was very lucky too. In October of '04 got to see my Red Sox sweep the Cards in Game 4 and end the 80 some year dry spell, married my wife in February then was at Arizona (and UW Milwaukee game to see us whip weasel Bruce Pearl), then went to the Final 4 games. It was the most incredible 6 months of my life!
 
#38
Does this team go undefeated in 2019-2020? The team was basically all guards and 4's. I believe they do, but the weakness is the 5 spot. No way Augustine/Carter/Ingram can play 1:1 with the centers from this year. But watching the defense these guys played was so impressive. Help defense was fluid and each player knew where to go and it was beautiful to watch. So while 1:1 they may be lacking, the help defense would've helped neutralize the advantage players like Garza would've had against the 2005 team.
I anything can happen in any one game against quality teams, but I think it would have been easier this year. Talent was diluted by early NBA entry between 89 and 05, and even moreso now. There was no team in the NCAA this year close to our level of talent in 05. Shoot I think 05 Arizona could have gone undefeated this year. Let me turn that around, who in the tournament this year would have scared our 05 team? I really disagree that Augie could not match up. The championship game was an anomaly. You knew when the first whistle blew that Augie was going to have a long night against May. In other games Augie held his own. I'd even go so far as to ask you in this year's tournament our current team was scared of? We had a punchers chance in any game. If we shot well, we could beat any team. I think the 05 team dominates this year.
 
#39
Charlotte, NC
Once you see the game about 25 different times, you start to pay attention to new things. Has anyone else ever been bothered by how indifferent Nick Smith looked on the bench? I get that he probably wasn’t happy with his playing time, but that was on him, and that time called for him to be a good teammate. That’s really annoyed me the last handful of times I’ve watched it.
Dude, I totally noticed this last night while watching the game! On Deron's tying 3-pointer in regulation, everyone was going crazy, but he was just standing there emotionless. Very bizzare.
 
#40
Jack Ingram deserves major credit for doing the little things right on that last possession

Ingram was a real glue guy on that team. A hard worker who did the little things and also provided some major contributions. I've little doubt he committed a foul on that steal at mid-court, but by then, we had AZ on their heels, and anyone who has watched a lot of sports knows that in moments like those, in the midst of a rousing comeback, the refs tend to favor the aggressor--the team and players who are setting the tone and dictating the pace of the game. The Illini definitely were in that category, and the refs let them play, thankfully.

I was so bummed out when we fell behind by, what, 14 or 15, with not much over 3:00 left. I bailed out, figuring it was over, and not planning to return. But I couldn't stay away. When I next looked, the Illini were kicking it into gear and, in particular, Luther and Deron were doing their best Superman imitations. The closing few minutes of regulation are the most stunning moments for me in my lengthy history as an Illini. There may be better comebacks, but on that stage, in that atmosphere, against such a solid, deserving opponent--I don't think it can be topped for sheer drama.

Notably, the team cooled off after regulation, and was in serious danger of giving it back to AZ. The teams famed toughness, and some luck, let them get out of there with the W. I think most people remember "The Comeback", but forget the nail biting OT when the game again hung in the balance, and the Illini ground it out. All of the theatrics were consumed in the last few minutes of regulation.

As for Nick Smith, he's the most unpleasant, ungrateful, petulant Illini I can remember, at least in basketball. He was a "me first" pouter of the first order. He had some moments, but he'll mostly be remembered as a Debbie Downer.
 
#41
Re: Deron pass

How, just how, did Deron know he had to put some spin on that pass? Genius, innate talent, I guess. I rest my case.

Summation: High basketball IQ Deron had.
 
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#42
Jack Ingram deserves major credit for doing the little things right on that last possession
And he came through at Wisconsin big time that year. Followed Self but stayed at Illinois and earned a plum engineering degree. Thanks, Jack.
 
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