Memorable N-G covers: the 2004-05 Illini

Memorable N-G covers: the 2004-05 Illini

Once a month, we'll take a look back at memorable Illini moments through the covers of News-Gazette sports sections. Today: the 2004-05 Illini's amazing march to the Final Four, where their bid for a national championship came up one win short.

Here are 10 covers that tell the story:

Dec. 2, 2004 — As the UI's football program zeroed in on Ron Zook, Bruce Weber's basketball team knocked off top-ranked Wake Forest en route to a No. 1 ranking they'd hold throughout the season. Link

Dec. 23, 2004 — In its fifth consecutive win against Missouri — and streak that lives today — Illinois got 20 points and seven rebounds from Luther Head to improve to 11-0. Link

Jan. 1, 2005 — Illini fans had reason to celebrate way past New Year's Eve as their 14-0 basketball team routed Cincinnati to win the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. Link

Jan. 26, 2005 — Not only did Illinois stay perfect (20-0), it ended No. 18 Wisconsin's 38-game home winning streak by scoring 14 of the game's final 15 points. Link

Feb. 2, 2005 — In a game many media types predicted Illinois would lose, four Illini scored in double figures to manhandle host and 12th-ranked Michigan State 81-68. Link

March 4, 2005 — Even though they clinched the BIg Ten earlier in the week, the Illini waited until after beating Purdue in their regular season finale to celebrate the league championship. Link

March 14, 2005 — Just like the regular season, the top-ranked Illini dominated the Big Ten tournament, capping a 3-0 run with a 54-43 win against Wisconsin. Link

March 25, 2005 — By beating nemesis Bruce Pearl and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dee Brown and the Illini advanced to the regional final at the friendly confines in Rosemont. Link

March 27, 2005 — Do you remember where you were when the Illini completed their miracle comeback against Arizona to reach the Final Four? Thought so. Link

April 3, 2005 — By beating Louisville, the Illini tied an NCAA record for single-season wins and advanced to their first championship game. Link





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