Studying seeds

Studying seeds

The NCAA tournament started seeding teams in 1979, the same year Magic Johnson and Michigan State, a No. 2 seed, took down No. 1 seed Indiana State and its top player, Larry Bird, 75-64 in the title game. Seventh-seeded Illinois will enter its 13th NCAA tournament game in program history having the worse seed when it plays second-seeded Miami at 7:40 p.m. today (TNT). So far, the Illini sport a less-than-glamorous 2-9 record in such matchups. We asked staff writer MATT DANIELS
to take a look at the previous 12:

Year    Opponent    Round    Result
2011    Kansas    Third round    L, 73-59

Comment: Going against the man he replaced, Bill Self, for the first time as Illini coach, Bruce Weber and No. 9 Illinois trailed 33-29 at halftime against the top-seeded Jayhawks. Twins Marcus and Markieff Morris, however, were too much, combining for 41 points and 24 rebounds at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Okla. Mike Davis (17 points, seven rebounds) and Mike Tisdale (13 points, 11 rebounds) led Illinois in the final game of their college careers.

2011    UNLV    Second round    W, 73-62
Comment: Paced by 22 points and nine rebounds from Davis and 17 points and seven assists from Demetri McCamey, the ninth-seeded Illini blitzed the eighth-seeded Runnin’ Rebels en route to a 46-24 halftime lead in Tulsa, Okla. D.J. Richardson might want to channel the performance he showed in this game tonight. As a sophomore, he had 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting in his NCAA tournament debut.

2007    Virginia Tech    First round    L, 54-52
Comment: Ron Guenther wasn’t the only unhappy Illini fan after Bruce Weber’s 12th-seeded Illini faltered late against the fifth-seeded Hokies at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Illinois led 47-34 with less than nine minutes left after a free throw by Brian Randle (seven points, 12 rebounds), but it was all for naught when Virginia Tech’s Deron Washington banked in a runner with 47 seconds left to give the Hokies a 53-52 lead they would not relinquish.

2004    Duke    Sweet 16    L, 72-62
Comment: Facing the top-seeded Blue Devils at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, No. 5 Illinois trailed 31-30 at halftime before Duke slowly pulled away. James Augustine (15 points, eight rebounds) and Roger Powell Jr. (15 points, eight rebounds) helped carry Illinois inside, but the 10 rebounds and eight assists gathered by Duke’s Chris Duhon allowed Mike Krzyzewski’s squad to eventually reach the Final Four.

2004    Cincinnati    Second Round    W, 92-68
Comment: In a sensational offensive performance at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, the fifth-seeded Illini shot 64 percent from the field in tearing apart the fourth-seeded Bearcats. Deron Williams led all scorers with 31 points and handed out seven assists, Powell Jr. came through with 22 points and Dee Brown supplied 14 points and eight assists.

2002    Kansas    Sweet 16    L, 73-69
Comment: Before Bill Self assumed the head gig at Kansas, he coached against the top-seeded Jayhawks at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis. Illinois, the fourth seed, gave Kansas a battle throughout in a game that featured eight starters who eventually played in the NBA. Robert Archibald and Frank Williams each scored 15 points for Illinois, but it could not overcome Drew Gooden and Keith Langford’s efforts in scoring 15 points apiece for Roy Williams’ team.

1998    Maryland    Second Round    L, 67-61
Comment: The fifth-seeded Illini, who were co-Big Ten champs this season, had the fourth-seeded Terrapins tied at 61 in the final minute before Maryland’s Obinna Ekezie made four free throws to seal the game in Sacramento, Calif., after missed jump shots by Kevin Turner and Matt Heldman in the final minute. Jerry Hester led Illinois with 15 points, and Jarrod Gee added 14 points and 13 rebounds.

1995    Tulsa    First round    L, 68-62
Comment: Before Tubby Smith ever beat Illinois as Minnesota’s coach, he did so leading the No. 6 seed Golden Hurricane. Shea Seals & Co. held off No. 11 Illinois in Albany, N.Y., with Seals making four three-pointers for Tulsa — then in the Missouri Valley Conference — as it rallied past Illinois, despite 24 points from Kiwane Garris.

1993    Vanderbilt    Second round    L, 85-68
Comment: The third-seeded Commodores shot 57 percent from the field, paced by Billy McCaffrey’s game-high 29 points, and Andy Kaufmann had a forgettable final game in an Illinois uniform, scoring five points and fouling out. Rennie Clemons posted a team-high 18 points for the sixth-seeded Illini, but it was not nearly enough in Salt Lake City.

1985    Georgia Tech    Sweet 16    L, 61-53
Comment: The third-seeded Illini traveled to Providence, R.I., for a date against the second-seeded Yellow Jackets. Doug Altenberger kept Illinois in the game with 24 points before he fouled out in the final two minutes, and Mark Price’s 20 points led Georgia Tech, which lost to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the Elite Eight.

1984    Kentucky    Elite Eight    L, 54-51
Comment: Lou Henson’s second-seeded Illini were on the verge of playing in the program’s first Final Four since 1952. Quinn Richardson led Illinois with 16 points while Altenberger added 13 points, but Illinois fans will remember this one for the apparent travel that never was called on Kentucky’s Dicky Beal in the final 30 seconds. Just ask Loren Tate what he thought of the top-seeded Wildcats after that game.

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