Another liveblogging session, this time the Final Four contest between my beloved Illinois Fighting Illini and the hated Louisville Cardinals. I intend to make entries at every TV timeout (16, 12, 8, and 4 minutes each half), halftime and of course at the end. GO ILLINI!!!
Ugh. Jim Nantz and Billy Packer are announcing. Brutal.
15:36 - Illini 10, Louisville 5 - Starting the game great with some nice three point shooting. I would love it if they played that zone all game. Louisville looks a bit tight. We are rebounding well to start, too.
11:37 - Illini 17, Louisville 14 - Holy crap what a bunch of ticky tack fouls on the Illini - we have 6 already and they don't have any! We are doing OK, but the refs gotta let us play a bit. Louisville is using their height advantage better and are settled down it seems. Their "D" has tightened up considerably.
6:56 - Illini 22, Louisville 22 - With Powell on the bench in foul trouble, we have to make every shot. We are getting no rebounds and our shots are not that great to boot. We are only 3 for 10 from 3 point range. Louisville is using their height advantage very well. They have had some easy buckets and we have to D up.
3:57 - Illinois 28, Louisville 24 - Both teams seem to be in self defense mode. In other words, neither team seems loose. We are rebounding better and Ingram made a clutch 3. We have to make shots - we are hurting without Powell's physical presence in there. Finally the refs are making some foul calls on Louisville. We looked much more poised in that last segment, working the posessions very nicely until we got open shots. I think Louisville may be a bit tired.
Halftime - Illinois 31, Louisville 28 - We are ahead and that is great, but I feel like Louisville got the better of the play. Hopefully in the second half the refs will let us play a bit. No Illini player has more than 2 fouls so we can be aggressive. They seem to have a big advantage on the boards so we need to shoot better in the second half. We were only 5 for 17 on threes.
15:16 - Illini 38, Loiusville 37 - Wow what a dunk by Powell. He has come out of the half playing like a man posessed. We are defending and shooting well out of the half and if the refs lay off, we can play down under with them, which will spell trouble for the Cards. We still need to shoot better.
12:08 - Illini 48, Louilville 44 - I have to hand it to Rick Pitino. Great zone. It is a 2-3, played out to the three arc. We have very few open threes but are making the ones we get. Powell is on fire now and is acting like a man posessed. This game will come down to conditioning and poise.
7:33 - Illinois 58, Louisville 49- Yes! Now we are playing some "D" and sinking some threes. We have to keep up the pressure, however. Louisville is cold and we are still just 11 for 28 on threes. We are doing a great job milking the clock on every posession. Keep it up guys, keep it up. They have a lot of fouls so both sides will have to make free throws, too.
3:31 - Illinois 64, Louisville 55 - My god lets figure a way to get the ball inbounds. Pitino has initiated a full court press but it is useless once we get the ball to the guards. We are shooting well now and seem to have a bit more poise than the Cards. Pitino doesn't seem to feel the urgency as the Louisville zone stays back while we just milk the clock. Fine with me as long as we keep making shots and free throws.
Final: Illinois Fighting Illini 72, Louisville Cardinals 57 - YES YES YES!!! What a game by the whole squad. Powell took the load on his shoulders and won that game single handedly. AWESOME!!! SEE YOU MONDAY NIGHT!!!!!!!!