Terry Mills doesn't remember specific details about the night the Wolverines won the title, but can vividly recall the night before the game in the team hotel. Team managers were set up on one floor completely dedicated to the Michigan players and curfew was enforced.
"I was lying in bed and then I heard a door (open) and then another," Mills said. "Before you knew it, all of us were sitting out in the hall way like 'I can't sleep. No I can't sleep either'."
The last minute coaching replacement to an out-the-door Bill Frieder resulted in six straight wins by Michigan.
"What stands out the most for me, is the chemistry and brotherhood we displayed in the tournament," Sean Higgins said of his Michigan Wolverines. "Myself and my teammates set out for one common goal and that was to win the national championship."
For Bruce Weber's Fighting Illini elite, they concluded their fairytale season as bridesmaids, coming up short against North Carolina in the finals.
"I still cherish the memories of coaching in that game and the opportunity we had," coach Weber said.
However, those bridesmaids would have the last laugh and a vantage point from the NBA as all five starters from that Illinois squad went on to play in the pros.
With that said, Luther Vandross start prepping those vocal cords, the Illini are eager to hear your voice.
The first half was what you would expect from a championship setting. Illinois and Michigan matched each other shot for shot. Both teams enjoyed the lead for portions of the first 20 minutes. Dee Brown lit up the Michigan defense for 15 points in the first half.
Rumeal Robinson, whose clutch free throws lifted Michigan to a national title in 1989, hit a buzzer beater to end the first half, cutting the Illinois lead to three, 46-43.
Michigan came out of intermission ice cold. Needing buckets to make up those three points, Fisher received the opposite as the Wolverines managed only three field goals in the first seven minutes.
Illinois took advantage of Michigan's inablility to hit the broadside of a barn, with Deron Williams hitting back to back treys. The Illini were on their way to titletown with a 14-point lead and 11:23 to go in the game.
Up ten with under four minutes to go, Illinois' hot shooting turned cold. During the most critical point of the game, Brown went 0-for-5 and Michigan made their move. The Wolverines closed the deficit to only three points with under a minute to go.
Warren Carter came off the Illini bench to end the skid, scoring two of his four points in crunch time. With 14 seconds left in the game, Michigan trailed by five.
The Wolverines got it to the man who hit the big shot for them 20 years ago. Robinson buried a three to give his team life once more. Illinois led by two, 85-83.
Michigan fouled Brown and sent him to the free throw line. Brown had the opportunity to seal the deal for the Illini.
Brown knocked down the front end of a one and one. But on attempt two, the ball clanked off the rim.
Down the court raced a blur of Maize jerseys. Four...three...two...one...Terry Mills for the tie...
Not on this night.
The 2004-05 Illinois Fightin' Illini are your 2010 Big Ten Network's "Bracket of Classics" champion.
"It's so rare in this day and age to keep a team together past their sophomore year," coach Weber said of this Illinois squad. "I think it will be more of a rarity in the future that a team stays together all four years."
Player of the game: Deron Williams (18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals)
Winning Percentage of 101 Simulations: Illinois 62.3%