The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament are over, and of the original 16 teams I was following, I have six left: Illinois, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Wisconsin and Michigan State. I’ll definitely lose either Arizona or Oklahoma State in round 3 as they have to play each other. At this point I would prefer to see Arizona beat O.K. State. There’s just something about Lute Olsen that a person really has to admire. And I don’t even know the name of the O.K. State coach. I don’t want to know, either.
But when it comes right down to it, the team I’d like to see win the championship is Illinois. I’ve been an Illinois basketball fan for 21 years, ever since I spent six months living with my brother Bob in Covington, Indiana. Bob’s old congregation (and the little town it was in) was big into basketball, and they were in the middle of a triangle formed by Purdue, Indiana and Illinois. I was walking around town in an Iowa State jacket and people told me, “If you’re gonna live here, you need to choose one of our teams.” They of course meant this in a good natured fashion, and since I wanted to get along, I chose Illinois. Why? Because Illinois is next to Iowa, and back then Illinois was in a big fight with the University of Iowa (Iowa State’s intra-state rival and arch nemesis) over some player who chose Illinois over Iowa and somehow got a Chevy Blazer out of the deal. Whatever. So I went with Illinois, and (if my memory serves me correctly) they won the Big 10 championship that year. I don’t really care much for Illinois football, but I love to watch their basketball team, especially when they play Iowa, and even more especially when they beat Iowa, like they did twice this year. So, go Illini!! It’s time to go to Chicago and break the UW-Milwaukee’s slipper.
Oh, and by the way. I will be cheering for whatever team is playing against the University of North Carolina, since the Tarheels absolutely buried my poor Cyclones. But most of Iowa State’s team is coming back, so (as the Cub fans say) wait ’til next year!!!!
But until then, GO ILLINI!!!!!