The Illini basketball team plays in Minneapolis tonight at historic Williams Arena, a building that has been very good to the Illini in recent years. In fact the Illini have won 10 of their last 12 games in "The Barn". There have been some memorable wins on that list. I can still see Frank Williams soaring to the rim to hit a layup to cap a remarkable comeback and give Illinois a share of the Big Ten title over a decade ago. Some of those wins in Minneapolis came as part of an overall 20 game winning streak for the Illini against the Gophers.
Last year the Illini came to Minneapolis after their uplifting upset over #1 Indiana and promptly fell behind by 12 points early in the game. They rallied and led by halftime and went on to win 57-53. John Groce called it maybe one of the most important wins of last season, leading to the NCAA Tournament berth the Illini would get later in the year.
The Illini badly need a win this year as they come to the Twin Cities once again. Maybe the magic they have had over the years in Williams Arena can help them out tonight.
By the way...I found this interesting fact about "The Barn" When it was built in 1927 the cost of the entire building was $ 650,000 dollars. In 2009 the Gophers replaced the basketball floor. The cost to replace the floor itself was nearly $ 600,000 dollars.
Amazing to think about isnt it?
Talk to you tonight from Williams Arena.