Greatest Illini basketball team

#26      
The 2005 team was 6 points from two games away from an unbeaten season. That close.

The Flying Illini would have won it all if Michigan doesn’t change coaches right before the tourney.

Douglas and Altenberger probably make the Final Four if it wasn’t a Kentucky home game to qualify.

My final answer; Flying Illini. But cannot really naysay anyone liking 2005 either.


I am afraid 2021 goes in the Austin Peay class. Better ... and the B1G trophy is nice ... but as far as the NCAAs are concerned still a huge disappointment

When it really counts, Loyola has Illinois' number. 1963 and lately. And I don't blame Sister; I'm a Roman Catholic, wouldn't dare blame her; I'd be excommunicated.

But what the heck happened this time? Should Ayo have been playing? We're not told a thing because his personal health is just that - personal.
 
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#27      
Dallas,TX , Born and raised in Alton,Illinois
IMO `89 Illinois Fighting Illin`.....hands down. With all due to respect to all other Great Illini` teams

Gill , Anderson , Battle , Hamilton , Bardo , Liberty .. w / Smith , Kaufmann , Small and Bowman , that team was so incredible .
 
#29      
Your list leaves out an old friend of mine "Dave Scholz" He was a survivor of the "slush fund" He also
was, for a stretch, the all time leading scorer for Illinois with over 1,400 points, he has been passed by more than 10 players.
Dave only lasted in the NBA for about two years. He was with the Philadelphia 76's for that brief time. When Dave came back to graduate
school, we played together on a the grad intramural team. That year we were the best team in the grad intramural
league. Dave was 6'8" with a deadly outside shot. I was a guard, that loved feeding Dave, and having wide open
15 to 20 foot jump shots because the defense was always trying to collapse on Dave. He played in 71 games for
the Illini, and averaged a little over 20 points per game. You have a long list of former players, and I just wanted
add Dave to your list
Dave Scholz -- my first ever favorite Illini as a small child!

Dave Scholz
Jodie Harrison
Mike Price
Greg Jackson
Randy Crews
 
#30      
Don't get me wrong as you read this, but my two favorite teams of all time are the Flying Illini and the 1963 Loyola Ramblers. The Flying Illini against the 63 Ramblers probably would have ended in a score of 103 to 101. For those of you a little two young to remember the 63 Ramblers, they scored over 100 points
quite a few times, and that was without a 3 point shot. I have been an Illini fan since the 1950's, but as a kid growing up in Chicago, that 63 team was so much fun to follow. Granted you had to listen to their games on the radio, Red Rush was the announcer (I think), but that was a long time ago. I remember the National Championship game on TV, when the Ramblers came from behind and beat Cincinnati in the second half. I loved the way that team played, and when the Flying Illini were rolling it was a similar feeling. If I had to pick one Illinois game that I remember the best, it was when Eddie Johnson hit the game winner from the side against Magic's Michigan St. team I was sitting in the Assembly Hall fairly close to where Eddie took that shot. Granted that was not the Flying Illini, but it was still a great memory. A lot of memories going on here, but the Flying Illini were special, and they provided a lot of fond memories.
 
#31      
2021 roster has 4 NBA guys. They had the goods to be the best ever. Both Ayo and Kofi are in the GOAT conversation at their positions. Man...we choked big time.

The best team in Illinois history is the 2005 team. 37-2. Best player in Illinois history. Deron proved it with a successful NBA career.

They were at a different level on offense. So many killers are that team.
 
#32      
The 1989 Flyin' Illini were just the best TEAM. Period.

Battle
Gill
Anderson
Liberty
Bardo
Hamilton
Smith
Kauffman

That's just my opinion.
 
#33      
The 1989 Flyin' Illini were just the best TEAM. Period.

Battle
Gill
Anderson
Liberty
Bardo
Hamilton
Smith
Kauffman

That's just my opinion.

Deron > Anderson
Gill > Dee
Head > Battle
Liberty > Powell
Augustine > Hamilton

Its tight for sure!!
 
#35      
I have an obsession with Luther Head. Personally, I think he is the most underrated, underappreciated guy in the history of Illinois basketball. This guy was a lock down defender and an absolute baller.
 
#39      
No love for the 84 or 01 teams?
Honest question to have a fun debate with... Only the 2001 Elite Eight team and not looking toward the future to potential recruits, is that team better off being coached by Bill Self in his first year at Illinois or Lon Kruger? Obviously that would be Kruger in his 5th season at Illinois I think.
I find that an interesting question.
 
#40      
That 1984 team was special. Oddly enough, it was Lou’s only B1G Championship. Quinn Richardson had an unbelievable 5th year after being very pedestrian his 4 prior. Altenberger was so underrated. He was always guarding guys that were 6 inches taller than him (Kenny Payne-Iowa, Len Bias-Maryland and Kenny Walker-Kentucky) and he shut them down. I’m not sure if Effrem Winters and Bruce Douglass ever had a better season than that one. That was a fun year that ended with Dicky Beal literally walking his way the Final 4.
Good times.
 
#44      
Deron > Anderson
Gill > Dee
Head > Battle
Liberty > Powell
Augustine > Hamilton

Its tight for sure!!
I disagree with some of your comparisons. Matching them more by position:

Anderson > Deron
Gill > Dee
Bardo < Head
Battle > Powell
Hamilton < Augustine

6th man
Marcus Liberty > Jack Ingram
 
#45      
The Flyin’ Illini rank as my favorite team. My favorite players (in no particular order):

Doug Altenberger
Kenny Battle
Skip Thoren
Mark Smith (‘79-‘80 version)
Ayo Dosunmu
Kendall Gill
Fred Miller
Nick Weatherspoon
Audie Matthews
Dee Brown
 
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#46      
IMO `89 Illinois Fighting Illin`.....hands down. With all due to respect to all other Great Illini` teams

Gill , Anderson , Battle , Hamilton , Bardo , Liberty .. w / Smith , Kaufmann , Small and Bowman , that team was so incredible .
Really hard to determine which Illini team was the greatest, comparing different era's and different styles of play....but the above mentioned were my favorites
 
#47      
I disagree with some of your comparisons. Matching them more by position:

Anderson > Deron
Gill > Dee
Bardo < Head
Battle > Powell
Hamilton < Augustine

6th man
Marcus Liberty > Jack Ingram
I further think the positions are off: Bardo was a point guard and Anderson was a small forward. The '89 team had 2 guards and 2 forwards and Hamilton as an undersized center. Gill is probably closer to Head in skill set (but better), but since he's a guard it seems a comparison do Dee is better. I think Deron is the only player that would start on the '89 team. And, the one thing that pushes '89 far in front are the first two guys off of the bench. My take:

Deron > Bardo
Gill > Dee
Anderson > Head
Battle > Powell
Hamilton = Augustine

Liberty >> Ingram
Larry Smith >> Rich McBride
 
#48      
I further think the positions are off: Bardo was a point guard and Anderson was a small forward. The '89 team had 2 guards and 2 forwards and Hamilton as an undersized center. Gill is probably closer to Head in skill set (but better), but since he's a guard it seems a comparison do Dee is better. I think Deron is the only player that would start on the '89 team. And, the one thing that pushes '89 far in front are the first two guys off of the bench. My take:

Deron > Bardo
Gill > Dee
Anderson > Head
Battle > Powell
Hamilton = Augustine

Liberty >> Ingram
Larry Smith >> Rich McBride

I went best players head to head

Deron and Nick
Dee and Gill
Head and Battle
Powell and Liberty
Augustine and Hamilton
 
#49      
Flying Illini had the size over the '05 team. '05 team dumped in 3 pointers like mad but '89 could shoot just as well and were stronger down low.
 
#50      
2021 roster has 4 NBA guys. They had the goods to be the best ever. Both Ayo and Kofi are in the GOAT conversation at their positions. Man...we choked big time.

The best team in Illinois history is the 2005 team. 37-2. Best player in Illinois history. Deron proved it with a successful NBA career.

They were at a different level on offense. So many killers are that team.
Deron is a legend for Arizona game but I think Nick Anderson and Derek Harper both had longer, more successful NBA careeers.