Sixteen years ago on Sunday — April 4, 2005 — Illinois and North Carolina met in the NCAA Tournament’s championship game.
Here’s a look back at the game, by the numbers:
The 2005 national championship game was played between two No. 1 seeds for the first time since 1999. It was coach Roy Williams’ first NCAA title.
Illinois’ 75-70 loss was only its second of the season (37-2).
Five-year-old Ayo Dosunmu watched the game from his home in Chicago.
Number of championship game players who, 85 days later, were chosen in the first round at the June 28, 2005 NBA draft. UNC’s Marvin Williams was the second overall pick, followed by UI’s Deron Williams (third), UNC’s Raymond Felton (fifth), UNC’s Sean May (13th), UNC’s Rashad McCants (14th) and UI’s Luther Head (24th).
Due to early foul trouble, Illini starter James Augustine only logged nine minutes of playing time.
The game-high number of rebounds corralled by Illinois forward Roger Powell Jr. Eight of the 14 he collected were offensive rebounds.
While the Nielsen TV rating for the Illinois-North Carolina game was outstanding, it fell nine points shy of the 24-point viewer rating that watched the 1979 title game between Michigan State’s Magic Johnson and Indiana State’s Larry Bird.
Sean May celebrated his 21st birthday by scoring 26 points, the exact total his father, Scott, scored in leading Indiana to the 1976 NCAA championship. Luther Head also had 21 points for the Illini.
Jack Ingram came off the bench and, in his 30 minutes of playing time for the Illini, had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Illinois’ 37 victories in 2004-05 tied the record set by 1998-99 national runner-up Duke.
Number of three-point field goals launched by the Illini against North Carolina. Thirty-four of the 40 three-pointers came from UI’s guard triumvirate of Head, Dee Brown and Deron Williams.
Beginning with UI’s 87-67 season-opening victory over Delaware State on Nov. 19, 2004 through the NCAA championship game on April 4, 2005, Illini fans enjoyed a total of 137 days of jubilation.
In 2014, Sports Illustrated voted the 2004-05 Illini team as the best ever to not win a title.
Estimated crowd at Memorial Stadium that greeted the Illini when they arrived home the next day in Champaign.
The championship game attendance inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
Sunday: Chandler Eggleston, gymnastics (26)
Monday: Duane “Skip” Thoren, basketball (78)
Tuesday: Aleks Vukic, tennis (25)
Wednesday: Jackie Guy, softball
Thursday: Kendra Gantt, basketball
Friday: Chase McLaughlin, football (25)
Saturday: Phil & Paul Judson, basketball (87)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @IlliniLegends and @B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.