Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Illinois Just Didn't Hit Their Open Shots

Last night's championship game sure was exciting. From Illinois' comeback in the second half to the last 2 or 3 minutes, it was a fast-paced, mostly well-played game. After Illinois' series of 3's to cut into UNC's lead, I mentioned to my roommate that they just can't keep up the great outside shooting. Well, IU really struggled in the first half, got hot in the first half of the second half (still with me?) and then cooled off at the end.

It's too bad for IU after a stellar regular season. They were a very likable team and now have the dubious honor of winning the most games in a season without a championship. It's hard to deny the amount of talent on UNC, but it's as if they didn't play hard defense because they were running a potent offense and figured they could just score on the other end anyway.

Illinois put up 40 3-pt shots last night. When you shoot that many, you figure some were forced, which is partly true, but many of their looks were wide open. IU wasn't going down low b/c that's not their game and Sean May was clogging things, but would it have been that tough for UNC's guards to get a hand in the face of some of IU's shots?

The only saving grave for IU is the shots were there down the stretch with pretty open looks. All 5 of their last shots were 3 pointers that weren't bad shots or forced, so they went down swinging and the shots just didn't fall. It happens. Nobody's to blame for that since it just wasn't their night. Losing Augustine to 5 fouls in 9 minutes didn't help things since he wasn't around to at least disrupt Sean May's 10/11 FG shooting, but there's no fault here. UNC is the champ and will probably lose half their team to graduation and the NBA, but for this past sesason, the most talented team came through when it mattered most.

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