The NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship

Damn, this sucks.

I really wanted a national championship this year for Illinois. This team of destiny reached their goal of a Final Four berth and made it farther than any other Illinois team in history, but couldn’t finish the job. They are the best Illinois basketball team ever; better than the ’89 team. I’m glad I had the opportunity to see them live at Assembly Hall a few times this year. It was magical.

They had their chances to win. A few calls on North Carolina’s big men… a few threes going down for the Illini… the score would have been different.

It’s funny, I’m not a huge sports fan. I like to watch the St. Louis Cardinals and I like Illinois Men’s Basketball. I watched both teams get to their respective championship game(s) and I watched both teams lose. I wonder what that means?

It’s sad that this Illinois team will never be on the court wearing their orange again. This was a very special team. I’ll miss the Dee/Deron/Luther show. My heart wishes Deron would stay, but my head knows he’s going to the NBA. Luther Head will probably play in the NBA. Roger Powell will be a preacher somewhere, Jack Ingram will be an engineer somewhere and Nick Smith will be a very tall passer in some European league.

I’m not going to blame the refs (even thought we got hosed on several no-calls) or the fact that the Illini have not reached the “elite” status that lets players get away with fouling, traveling and 3-seconds in the lane. The better team, in one night of basketball, got beat by the other team. Illinois was close. So close. I think we will get to the Final Four again much sooner than this last time.

So what do I do with my Illini gear? eBay, baby. I’ve got plenty of great memorabilia that I, frankly, don’t care too much to keep. Someone will want my posters, my Illini yearbook, etc.

Another added bonus is my girlfriend will be much happier now. I freaked her out when Illinois got beat in the last regular season game and she was with me when the team came back to beat Arizona and I needed CPR to stay alive. Now, I have a few months to settle back and enjoy the summer… watch some baseball… be happy…

Hey look! The sun did rise in the morning. Life goes on. I bet the sunset tonight is a beautiful orange and blue. Just what we need to thank our Illini team for the greatest year of Illinois Men’s Basketball ever.

See ya at Memorial Stadium tonight for the “Thank you.”