Illini Hoops All-Decade team

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By Paul M. Banks & Paul Schmidt of  The Sports Bank and Joe Kutsunis of Hail to the Orange, “Home of the Blogging Illini”

When putting together an All Decade Team, our first effort was Nick Smith, at guard, forward, and center. Nick Smith all the way baby. So obviously someone spiked our Egg Nog with opium or something. Eventually we decided to take the job seriously and put this together; a collection of our favorite memories surrounding the players the three of us deemed all decade.

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R.I.P. Illini over Gophers Winning Streak

By Paul M. Banks

I’d rather not bring up the score of Minnesota’s upset over #19 Illinois. This baffling outcome at Williams Arena marks the end of an era. Pour out a little liquor for the 20 game win streak by Illinois over Minnesota. I’ll miss ya buddy…it was fun while it lasted! With some help from the University of Illinois Sports Information Department, here are some fun facts about the Illini Reign of Terror over Goldy Gopher…(with some commentary by me of course)

Illinois leads the all-time series 113-61, but Minnesota owns a 44-41 advantage in games played in Minneapolis. (Sounds pretty dominating, right Andy, Pete, David?)

Illinois had won eight straight over Minnesota at Williams Arena, with the Gophers’ last home win coming in 1999. (“Livin La Vida Loca was really popular then…I was a junior at Champaign back then, Cory Bradford and Sergio McClain were the “stars” of that team which set a school record for losses) Last year’s Illini team broke that school record btw)

Illinois’ 20-game, 10-year streak began with the 1999 Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal. It is the Illini’s longest winning streak in school history over a conference opponent.

(I was a junior then, and it was a pre-Facebook, Myspace, Twitter world…I think we were on Web .05 back then)

Illinois’ 20-game winning streak over Minnesota spanned 10 years, seven head coaches (three at Illinois, four at Minnesota) and four cities (eight wins in Champaign, eight wins in Minneapolis, two wins in Indianapolis and two wins in Chicago).

(It was before most of us had heard of Bush 43..ooohh those were the days, and instead American thought something called Y2K was a problems)

It is Illinois’ longest winning streak in school history over an opponent. Here are Illinois’ all-time longest winning streaks over an opponent:

1. Minnesota 20 1999-2009

2. Butler 16 1940-61

Northwestern 16 1947-55

Wisconsin 16 1981-89 (Yes, the Badgers really sucked in the 80s)

Northwestern 16 1984-91  (Hey, nice to see you again)

6. Ohio State 12 1950-56

It was the fourth-longest current winning streak nationally by a team over a conference opponent:

1. Oklahoma over Baylor Big XII 25

2. Penn over Dartmouth Ivy League 23

3. Texas over Baylor Big XII 23

4. Illinois over Minnesota Big Ten 20

5. Ohio State over Northwestern Big Ten 17

(Man, they own the Cats in football too! The easiest school to get into in the Big Ten, well after Iowa of course, owns the hardest conference school to get into in sports)

Illinois’ eight straight victories at Williams Arena is one shy of the longest opponent winning streak in that building. Indiana won nine straight at Williams Arena from 1981-89. (So that Jackass Bobby Knight still gets to hold on to this record)

This loss hurts a little bit…but ashes to ashes, dust to dust.