It didn't take long for the first upset of the B.O.C. to emerge, as the undefeated 1975-76 National Champion Indiana Hoosiers were sent packing at the hands of the 2004-05 Fighting Illini.
Mr. Knight, please put down the chair. You may need it later.
Bruce Weber's squad proved they mean business in this tournament.
"We had everybody back from a team that won the Big 10 the year before and made it to the Sweet 16," coach Weber said. "Besides great players we had great chemistry."
Illinois shot lights out in the opening minutes of the game. A 10-0 run will definitely get the attention of Coach Knight and a Hoosier team not accustomed to being pushed around.
But whereas fans just assumed Indiana would come storming back, the opposite occurred. Sure, the team closed the gap to within one, but the Hoosiers came no closer in the first half. The Illini poured on the offense, ended the half on a 21-10 run and rested knowing they possessed a 12-point halftime lead.
Bobby, here's your whip.
The tongue lashing must have jarred the athletic talent right out of the national champion Hoosiers. The team proceeded to rattle off a 19-8 run and found themselves only trailing by one, 53-52, with plenty of time left on the clock.
"For those who have not been involved in that kind of environment," Quinn Buckner said of playing with the Hoosiers. "Those are your friends for life because you have that shared experience." Buckner says he still talks to Scott May, his roommate at Indiana, at least two times a week.
Illinois was not going to give this game away. They were ready to make Indiana fight for the win and trip to the semi-finals. The Illini starting five all scored in double figures. Their lead crept back up to nine.
Indiana's Scott May, the 1975-76 National Player of the Year, played like it on this night. His 36 points breathed life into his Hoosier team. He carried the load of two players and knocked down a jumper from the left baseline with 45 seconds to go, tying the game at 86. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, it would be his last bucket of the night.
Illinois, however, had one more in them. The Illini came down the court and worked the ball around, right into the hands of a wide-open Dee Brown.
With Brown in the corner and a goose neck in the air, the ball rotated, fans held their breath until it dropped down through the bucket.
The corner trey put the Illini back up three with seconds to go.
A few futile Indiana three-point attempts ended with May coming up short on a shot from the left wing.
Illinois upsets Indiana, 89-86.
Player of the game: Scott May (36 points)
Winning Percentage of 101 Simulations: Illinois 2004-05 (64.3%)