April 04, 2005

Live-Blogging the NCAA Championship

May be somewhat intermittent....

Earlier pre-game thoughts are in the previous post. Tonight's comments in the extended entry.

Oh jeez, Bruce Weber just gave the "big toe" speech.

I've heard an awful lot about what Ilinois has to do to stop North Carlina, but next to nothing about what North Carolina has to do to stop Illinois. Methinks, Illinois' offense is being sold a little short here.

Illinois wins Pontiac's game changing performance of the tournament. Woo hoo!

Oh goody, it's Billy Packer's and Jim Nantz's 15th straight performance. Almost makes me long for the days of Brent Musberger. Almost.

I hope Illinois remains disciplined enoough to let May have his points when he gets inside position. Avoid the foul trouble and the extra point.

Man, wasn't Roger Powell Jr.'s followup of his own missed three against Louisville something?

Do you have to be from Big 10 country to be annoyed at talking heads feeling sorry for Roy Williams not winning the big one or Mike Krzyzewski having to make due with only four McDonald's all-Americans?

For all the talk about North Carolina being vastly more talented, they are only two point favorites.

The stadium is either all orange or orange and blue. Even if it is a powder blue, I take it as a sign.

Man, is this Hoosiers all over again? That big "H" on ESPN looked a lot like an "I".

And we're off!.

Deron's rattles out and Rashad's rattles in. It's early.

Illinois is trying to get it in low. Keep it up.

Calls are all going to UNC early.


Good defense.

Going into the first TV timeout it looks like a game of runs.

Felton has 2 fouls. Let's see how Roy want to play it. He's staying in.

Deron misses 2 free throws.

Bad defense off the missed free throw.

May charges and gets away with it. Deron has the basket waived off. The calls continue to go North Carolina's way.

Second TV timeout. UNC up 18-17. I like the way it is going to far. Illinois is getting offensive boards, and they are moving the ball well. Carolina better start doing a better job going around screens, if they keep giving Luther open threes he's going to start dropping them. Illinois just has to stop the break, the half court defense is pretty good. Just don't give up the fast easy baskets. And Deron Wiliams better start hitting his free throws.

And Augustine gets the charge and his second foul. Ok, call it both ways.

Man, tickle fouls on one end, and not the other. And the loose balls are luckily going to UNC. Let's hope it all evens out.

So far, Illinois just isn't shooting well. Just get a couple to drop and we have a very different story. The quick three by Deron is not part of the offense.

I despise the "aerial timeout." Sorry, but if you don't establish your feet on the floor after grabbing the ball you do not have control. Oh, the official made the right call, but the rule sucks.

Illinois is outrebounding UNC 13-12. Surprising. Offensive boards 7-2 Illinois.

Uh oh. Nick Smith is in.

The thrid TV timeout. Come on guys, a 22 foot shot by Powell is a bad shot to settle for. What's worse, it looked to me like Luther had a shot and didn't take it. Loss of confidence or a hamstring problem? Illinois should enjoy playing against the zone, we'll see. If Felton gets his third, North Carolina steps down a notch, just like Illinois does when Williams has to sit.

So far, Illinois is playing good half court defense and forcing some loose balls, but not getting them yet. Illinois seems cold more than UNC stopping them.

Nick Smith is showing his deficiencies rather quickly on offense and defense.

Deron does not shoot well from the side, only out front.

And now Deron gets his second foul. Not that big a deal, Deron's been good at playing with fouls.

Bad move on the three on one. Dee should have taken it to the basket.

UNC 25 UI 20.

Ingram nails it.

Three fouls on Manuel now on the play that Bilas diagrammed earlier.

Dee forced a three. Settle down and work the offense. Man the breaks keep going UNC's way.

UNC 30 UI 25.

No alley oops yet, but UNC is hitting their threes.

No fouls on Powell on three consecutive offensive rebounds and shots?

And the ball goes off Deron's ankle. Every break continues to go UNC's way. Maybe I should stop saying that as we come back from the fourth TV timeout.

Illinois is not playing well the last four of five minutes. Who took this timeout? Weber?

UNC 35 UI 27.

May walked. And the refs called it! Yeah, I'm a homer, so what?

May walked again, no call. This sucks. So UNC gets to lucky and good.

Come on, stop the break.

Illinois doesn't get a shot off. This is not good.

Halftime UNC 40 - UI 27. The problem is that Illinois is not scoring. I'll settle for keeping UNC to 80, but Illinois has to start taking better shots and making the ones that are open. If they panic and start taking quick shots the game is going to look a lot like UNC's second half against Michigan State. Conversely, maybe this is just setting up the drama for the best championship comeback in history. Stop the secondary break, get some of those loose balls and almost steals, have Sean May called for charging and walking every time he does it, start hitting some of those open shots and we got a game. The half court defense is still good. Just start scoring some.

Shooting percentage 55.1% to 27.7%. Threes 6-11 and 5-19 respectively. It's amazing the lead is only 13. The highlights CBS just showed has Illinois missing open threes. Lowest total at the half for Illinois this year. That's not great defense. This is looking like a choke. Gee, is it too early for me to give up hope and invoke the reverse metaphysics?

Maybe Pontiac would do better if they had better commercials and weren't quite so impressed with their four-part folding roof. BFD. Just something else to break down. And jeez, even Jim nantz is embarrassed about The Locusts.

CBS is using HBO's Deadwood theme song. Strange. This is a pretty weak feature on free throws.

Well now, let's see what kind of adjustments are made coming out of the half. Twenty minutes to remember the rest of your life.

Here we go...

Cheap third foul on Augustine. And now 4. I wouldn't mind so much if they called the fouls on Sean May.

Man, Illinois keeps knocking the ball away but UNC keeps possession.

And the ball falls right to May for a dunk. Come on. Let's get some breaks. I see a Technical coming up soon if something doesn't change.

UNC 49 UI 42. Different game when the shots are falling. First TV timeout. Yeah baby, I like it UNC takes quick shots, now it's Illinois turning those misses around for quick scores.

Only 7 turnovers each.

UNC 51 UI 45.

Manuel has his fourth.

UNC 51 UI 48. Cut to 3.

And of course, the 53% shooter makes his free throw, but then amazingly, Sean May has a foul called on him. Don't believe me, just ask Bily Packer.

What is this the NBA? Sean May shoves his guy underneath and gets the and 1.

UNC 57 UI 53.

See, if Illinois will be patient, they can score. UNC is going to score, as well, but you only need one more point, and the three will give Illinois that.

UNC 60 UI 55. Illinois timeout. Just imagine if Illinois was able to play with all its starters in the game.

Definitely a game of runs.

May is awfuly good, 10-11 from the field. If UNC wins, he is clearly the reason why. Maybe he can miss his next 6 to match his dad.

UNC 62 UI 55.

Powell's having a hell of a game.

Deron's gotta hit those.

Will Sean May get tired?

Drive and dish. I like it. Dee this time, Deron needs to do it more. Luther must be hurting a little or he'd be penetrating more.

UNC 65 UI 59.

Again, this would be a very different game if Illinois had been just a little more efficient in the first half.

8 minute TV Timeout.

Time to dig deep. Imagine how hard they are going to be on Roy if he loses after being up by 13 at the half.

And Augustine's gone. Jeez. Come on. This is the kind of stuff that makes us think it's not fair. And you gotta love Mr. Negative's comments.

UNC 65 UI 61.

Gee is that a makeup call for Augustine? Sorry, we need about four more to make up for it,

UNC 65 UI 63.

And Dee Brown to the line. Felton gets his fourth.

UNC 65 UI 65.

This is the drama everybody wants. Felton hits a big one.

UNC 68 UI 67.

Man, I hate to see the NBA game win at the college level. If Ingram goes out the game may be over, because Smith can't stay on May. Too bad Brian Randle broke his hand.

UNC 70 UI 67.

TV timeout under 4 minutes. Turnovers: UNC 8 UI 7.

I assume Powell is going to have to come out on Sean May now. The game is now going to turn on how Illinois shoots threes. So what else is new?

Illinois will not give up.

Bad quick shot by UNC

UNC 70 UI 70.

Timeout UNC.

Let's see if everybody's got nerves of steel now. We know Illinois does.

2:32 remaining.

Deron cannot shoot from the side. I've said it before.

1:59 remaining.

No alley oops tonight.

What luck, all night. McCants throws up garbage and it gets tipped in.

UNC 72 UI 70.

1:04 remaining. Illinois timeout and the ball.

0:50.6 remaining. Illinois timeout. Just get the three to fall... Need to get a quick score to get two for one here. Despite what Billy Packer just said.

Oh Luther. You have to foul now.

UNC 73 UI 70.

0.25.8 remaining. Timeout UNC.

I see a tie coming. Will UNC have enought time to get a shot off or will we see OT. After all, it has been that kind of tournament. Remember, UNC has fouls to give.

Luther had two good shots, but neither fell. My third eye needs a checkup. But Luther still had a good game.

Oh well.

UNC 75 UI 70.

0:09.9 remaining.

I don't think even Illinois is good enough to make up this deficit.

North Carolina wins 75-70. Or did Illinois lose it in the first half? Iliniois did not score the last 2:30 mintes. Not an instant classic game. Considering how far the breaks fell North Carolina's way and with James Augustine being removed from the game so quickly, I think Illinois did rather well. Listening to Dick Vitale now, it's as though North Carolina dominated the game. And Digger Phelps just said North Carolina destroyed Illinois. Oh really? Sorry if I seem a little bitter now. But the game's over and nothing will change that. Alas, I expect a lot of "what if" commentary now. It's what Illinois fans do.

Congratulations to Roy Williams and North Carolina.

And thanks to Illiniois for a great season.

Just one more note, Rick Pitino was a lot more gracious in losing than Roy Williams is in winning. Gee Roy, who was it you were playing again? And how well would you have done without Sean May on your, as you say it, TEAM?

Now the race for Jon Scheyer really begins for Bruce Weber.

Posted by Charles Austin at April 4, 2005 09:11 PM