LIVE! from Austin

LIVE! from Austin

No. 7 Illinois 57, No. 10 Colorado 49 — Final

Brandon Paul scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Illini, who held off a second-half charge by the Buffaloes.

Check out our N-G front page after the win here

Tracy Abrams had 13 points and six assists for Illinois, which will play Miami on Sunday in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

D.J. Richardson, who sparked the Illini in the first half, finished with 14 points.

COLORADO (21-12)
Booker 5-14 0-0 14, Johnson 2-6 0-0 5, Roberson 4-10 1-2 9, Dinwiddie 1-8 4-5 6, Scott 4-9 2-2 10, Talton 0-0 0-0 0, Harris-Tunks 1-1 0-0 2, Chen 0-0 2-2 2, Adams 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 17-51 10-13 49.

ILLINOIS (23-12)
McLaurin 0-1 0-0 0, Richardson 5-14 0-2 14, Paul 3-12 9-10 17, Abrams 4-10 4-4 13, Egwu 3-6 1-2 7, Bertrand 0-2 1-2 1, Henry 0-1 0-0 0, Griffey 1-6 2-4 5. Totals 16-52 17-24 57.
Halftime—Illinois 37-21. 3-Point Goals—Colorado 5-19 (Booker 4-10, Johnson 1-1, Roberson 0-1, Adams 0-2, Dinwiddie 0-5), Illinois 8-31 (Richardson 4-11, Paul 2-8, Abrams 1-4, Griffey 1-5, Henry 0-1, Bertrand 0-2). Fouled Out—Johnson, Roberson. Rebounds—Colorado 36 (Scott 14), Illinois 37 (Egwu 8). Assists—Colorado 7 (Dinwiddie 4), Illinois 10 (Abrams 6). Total Fouls—Colorado 20, Illinois 12. A—13,784.

No. 7 Illinois 39, No. 10 Colorado 36 — 11:53 second half

Askia Booker is a streaky shooter. He’s trending in the right direction now for the Buffs, who got off to a 14-2 start in the second half, thanks to three Booker three-pointers.

Tracy Abrams dropped some jaws here with the behind-the-back dribble on a move to the bucket. His free throws after that play represent the only Illinois points this half.

Brandon Paul picked up a pair of quick fouls this half, giving him three for the game which sent him to the bench. Colorado came out hot in the second half.

Colorado outscored Illinois 13-0 with BP on the bench.

There are more Colorado fans here than I realized. They’re sitting behind me and they got loud during the early part of the second half.

Illinois is simply not making shots. After shooting 43.3 percent in the first half, the Illini have missed their first 10 shots to start the second half.

Groce made the “even-keel” sign to his guys going into the first media timeout.

One of the NCAA tournament moments being shown during the timeouts here as the Illinois comeback against Arizona. Maybe the Illinois players watched that during the timeout. They need something to get the juices flowing again. They only have two points this half.

No. 7 Illinois 37, No. 10 Colorado 21 — Halftime

Colorado looks frustrated. Illinois getting physical, Roberson told the officials to watch out for the pushing in the back on the boards.

Tracy Abrams’ three-pointer at the end of the half will frustrate them further to end the half of a 13-0 run, part of a 26-6 run for Illinois.

Tyler Griffey showed absolutely no hesitation in burying a three-pointer midway through the half. He could be another x-factor. When Illinois hits big shots, this place goes nuts.

Brandon Paul asked the official why he didn’t get a foul call on a desperation three-pointer at the end of a shot clock when he got Roberson in the air. Not sure what the answer was, but the official just shook his head.

Illinois got out to the lead early thanks to its defense. Colorado had a wave of turnovers that Illinois converted into points.

Illinois is getting threes in transition and knocking them down. That’s when they’re at their best.

The Buffs are giving Paul a little too much space for him to be the guys they’re focused on. It helps that other guys are knocking down looks, though.

Colorado’s turnovers, plus a cold streak hurt the Buffs. At one point, the Buffs went 1 from 8 during a stretch in the half. They had good looks from high-percentage areas, too.

Illinois shot 43.3 percent (13 for 30) in the first half and 6 for 16 (37.5 percent) from long range.

Richardson has 11 points, Abrams nine and Paul seven.

Colorado shot 34.8 percent (8 for 23) from the floor and 1 for 5 (20 percent) from deep.

The Buffs turned it over eight times, leading to 15 Illinois points. Illinois had three turnovers.

Illinois grabbed 17 rebounds, Colorado had 16. Illinois had five offensive rebounds and two second-chance points. The Buffs pulled down three offensive boards and didn’t score off any of them.

Roberson leads Colorado with seven points. Spencer Dinwiddie had three and Askia Booker had five.

No. 7 Illinois 16, No. 10 Colorado 15 — 11:48 first half

This one has the makings of a track meet. Brandon Paul looks strong early.

Illinois hasn’t gotten any inside production of late. Nnanna Egwu scored in the post on the first possession of the game and with relative ease. Then he got whistled for a foul immediately after on the other end.

He’s regained some serious confidence, it seems, in his jumper.

Interesting that Richardson started on Booker and not Dinwiddie. Tracy Abrams is guarding Spencer Dinwiddie.

Colorado’s student section is here. “Quiet! He’s shooting a free throw,” they yelled as Brandon Paul shot a pair from the foul line. They didn’t take their own advice. Seems like a strong group, though.

Askia Booker has a couple of early jumpers for the Buffs. He’s a real streaky guy. He can be the difference for Colorado. He’s also an emotional guy. His energy runs through the rest of the team.

On the basket where Brandon Paul was also whistled for a charge, the public address announcer named Kevin Berardini as the offender.

How’s the broadcast? Are Tim Brando and Mike Gminski a good duo?

Expect to hear them talk about the Peoria Pipeline during the broadcast today. They’re aware that the streak ends with D.J.

K-State came back to tie it up. The only bad thing about covering the tournament (the absolute only thing) is you don’t get to watch many other games. Enjoy this one and that one from home, folks.

NCAA Tournament: No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Colorado — Tipoff (TNT)

Most of the Illini are wearing those new fluorescent orange Nikes. You seriously need sunglasses to look at those. Brandon Paul is wearing blue CP3s.

Colorado is wearing gold space boots.

The Illini will wear white uniforms. Colorado is in the traveling blacks.

Again, great crowd here for the first session.

There’s a guy behind the Illini bench holding up a big blue flag with the number 12 on it. He’s trying to get the attention of Colorado’s players. They’re not paying him any mind.

D.J. and Brandon did the thing where they each take a bunch of halfcourt shots. D.J. finally made one. Paul never did. Might be the last time they do that. It’s been going on for four years.

Illinois’ band and cheerleaders are here making the rare appearance outside the Assembly Hall.

Colorado brought a mascot. Illinois has no mascot/symbol.

Colorado’s band was playing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” when its team took the floor. Not sure if that’s what you want to get you riled up before a tournament game.

The winner here today gets Miami. Good luck. The Hurricanes have been impressive all season, but even more impressive in person. They should have been a No. 1 seed.

Joe Bertrand and Tracy Abrams have to be good for the Illini today. They're the keys, along with the usuals.

Here we go.

NCAA Tournament: No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Colorado — 3:44 p.m. tipoff  (TNT)

The Pacific fans have been all over the officials today. Guys, Miami is so much better than your team, the officiating has absolutely nothing to do with it. I understand a gripe here and there, but these guys won’t let it go.

Miami won by 29.

Expect an Illinois starting five of Tracy Abrams, D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu.

Former Illinois basketball manager Matt McCumber is here at the Erwin Center. McCumber was the head manager on the 2005 team. He spent some years on staff af Texas A&M, Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois. He’s out of coaching now and lives in Dallas.

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas is here. The Colorado native spent the early part of the week in Jacksonville visiting with Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn. Thomas arrived in Austin yesterday.

Colorado’s players were seated in the stands here under one basket taking in the action from the earlier game. The Buffs went to the locker room with about seven minutes remaining.

Members of the Illinois women’s track and field team are here at the Erwin Center cheering on the Illini from the second deck in Section 95. The women are competing tomorrow at Texas State, so they came to Austin today for some NCAA tournament action. There are about 15 of them along with coaches.

At last check Kansas State was being torn apart by LaSalle in Kansas City. Bruce Weber’s fourth-seeded Wildcats are going to have to make up some serious ground in the second half to come back from 18 points.

LaSalle coach John Giannini was an assistant on Illinois’ 1989 Final Four team.

Great crowd here, by the way. A lot of Illinois fans are in the building.

Pacific fans chanted “Thanks, Coach T” in the closing seconds of their loss.

Some Miami players, aware that it was Thomason’s final game, spent a moment to share some kind words for him. Very nice gesture.

NCAA Tournament: No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Colorado — 3:40 p.m. tipoff (approx.) — TNT

The Illini arrived at the Erwin Center a little bit after 1 p.m. today. Yesterday, the Illini got to use the Longhorns’ dressing room. They’ve been practicing at the Texas practice facility.

The got first crack at everything because director of operations Mark Morris did a bang-up job getting everything set up on Sunday night once they found out where they would be going.

Illinois assistant coaches Jamall Walker and Paris Parham are sitting courtside scouting a potential opponent for Sunday. There’s little doubt if the Illini win, they’ll be playing Miami. The Hurricanes lead 40-19 here at the half and they’re huge. They’ve got some impressive big men.

Shane Larkin has been impressive, too. He’s got five assists and no turnovers.

His dad has been busy at the half. Barry has signed a boatload of autographs and has shaken three times as many hands. Poor guy can’t get a break.

During the introductions of the game happening right now, Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin had his phone out, recording everything just like most parents do. His son Shane is a fantastic point guard at Miami.

The Pacific radio guy said no matter what happens today, this will be one of the greatest experiences of his life.

Pacific coach Bob Thomason, who will retire at the end of this season after 25 years, spent a good amount of time chatting up Mike Gminski before the game. Most head coaches don’t come out until game time. Thomason seems like a laid-back guy.

Gminski rocks a silver hoop earring in his left ear. Michael Jordan used to do that, I think MJ still does.

Gminski also downed a serious amount of honey before the game. Good for the pipes.

At least two Pacific band members have their faces painted like Tigers. Very involved process.

NCAA Tournament: No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 Colorado — 3:40 p.m. tipoff (approx.) — TNT

Good afternoon again from the Erwin Center for today’s NCAA tournament first- second-round game between the Illini and Buffaloes.

This one’s tough to call. Pac-12 teams have a reputation for being soft. Colorado isn’t soft. The Buffs aren’t afraid to get physical, plus they can really get up and down the floor.

The Pac-12 as a whole is also out to prove it’s a much better conference than it is given credit for. UCLA is also here in Austin and coach Ben Howland had a conversation yesterday with CBS/Turner’s Tim Brando and Mike Gminski about the lack of respect the league was given in NCAA tournament seeding.

Oregon, which won the conference tournament and was a Top-25 team most of the year was a 12 seed. They beat Oklahoma State yesterday. Cal, another 12 seed, beat UNLV. Arizona, which beat Belmont, and UCLA were the league’s highest-seeded teams, both earning 6 seeds.

Colorado guard Spencer Dinwiddie said it was “wild” that Oregon was seeded 12th and the league didn’t get any respect.

“We understand how good the Big Ten is but we want to go out there and hopefully beat them,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie also sports a grown-man moustache. His nickname is “The Mayor.” Notsure what that’s all about.

Not a great crowd here for the opener. The folks here in Austin were kind of concerned about the attendance. There is no team with a regional tie here and we’re in the middle of a work/school day. Maybe the attendance will pick up in the night session.

Texas, which saw its season end in the opening round of the CBI, averaged just under 11,000 in this building this year. The Erwin Center seats 16,734.

Hard to tell which fans here are Illini fans. Four of the eight teams at this site have orange as one of their colors.

I’m told Illinois was the only one of the eight schools here to sell its allotment of 500 tickets.

I’ll be on the radio with Steve Kelly for about the next 45 minutes or so. I’ll be back with another update soon. I’d imagine the Illinois game won’t start at 3:40 p.m.

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illinirev wrote on March 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm


First Peoria Pipeline reference after DJ hit one one of those heat check 3's. We will miss that guy. Have to love how TA is playing. His first take and score changed how the game was played. 

JamesB wrote on March 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Great win.  We can be a fun team to watch, and a horrible team to watch.  Anyone know how Abram's leg is.  Seems like he was holding his hamstring at the end there.  We'll obviously need him on Sunday.

Anyone know of any losing fans trying to unload their tickets on the cheap?  Sitting here in Austin, with no plans for Sunday.

Go Illini!