2004–05 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team

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2004–05 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball
Fighting Illini logo.svg
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
Coaches No. 2
AP No. 1
2004–05 record 37–2 (15–1 Big Ten)
Head coach Bruce Weber
Assistant coach Wayne McClain
Assistant coach Jay Price
Assistant coach Tracy Webster
MVP Dee Brown
Luther Head
Deron Williams
Captain Dee Brown
Luther Head
Deron Williams
Home arena Assembly Hall
Seasons
« 2003–04 2005–06 »
2004–05 Big Ten Conference men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
#1 Illinois 15 1   .938     37 2   .949
#15 Michigan State 13 3   .813     26 6   .813
#20 Wisconsin 11 5   .688     25 9   .735
Indiana 10 6   .625     15 14   .517
Minnesota 10 6   .625     21 11   .656
Ohio State 8 8   .500     20 12   .625
Iowa 7 9   .438     21 12   .636
Northwestern 6 10   .375     15 16   .484
Michigan 4 12   .250     13 18   .419
Purdue 3 13   .188     7 21   .250
Penn State 1 15   .063     7 23   .233
2005 Big Ten Tournament winner
As of March 15, 2005; Rankings from AP Poll[1]

The 2004–05 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team, the 100th season of men's basketball at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in recent college history. After starting the regular season with a record of 29–0 and winning the Big Ten Conference regular season title outright, the Illini were Big Ten Tournament champions and advanced in the 2005 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament to the National Championship, where they lost to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels 75–70. They ended the season with a conference record of 15–1, and an overall record of 37–2. In 2014, Sports Illustrated voted the 2005 Illinois team as the best team ever to not win a title.

Season[edit]

A promotional image from the 2004-05 season featuring Dee Brown, Luther Head, and Deron Williams.

Overview[edit]

Illinois celebrated its 100th season of varsity basketball in 2004-05. In his second season as head coach at Illinois, Bruce Weber’s Illini put together the most successful season in U of I history. The Illini tied the all-time NCAA record for victories in a season with 37 wins en route to its 37–2 record (since surpassed by 2011–12 Kentucky with a 38–2 record and 2014–15 Kentucky with a 38–1 record). Illinois made its fifth all-time NCAA Final Four appearance and first since 1989. The Illini defeated Louisville in the national semifinal to advance to the NCAA Championship game for the first time in school history. Illinois finished as the national runner-up, falling to North Carolina in the title game.

Above all else, the team was noted for its impeccable ball movement on offense. The team led the nation in assists. A constant flow of passes allowed for open looks from the three-point line on every play. Led by a three guard starting lineup, the team did not rely upon sheer size and height like many other teams in order to dominate, but rather skill and teamwork. Illinois relied upon three-point shooting for its offensive firepower. Illinois' effective offense was largely attributable to the team chemistry that had developed amongst the starting five, which had gone unchanged over the two previous seasons. Defensively, the team was one of the best at guarding against the three-point shot. Illinois averaged 77.0 points per game, while allowing 61.1 points per game, for an average point differential of nearly 16 points.

National statistical rankings
Statistic Amount National rank
Points scored 3,002 4th
Assists 727 1st
Rebounding 1,338 9th
Three-point field goals made 344 2nd
Three-point field goal attempts 877 4th
Points allowed (defense) 2,382 8th

In blowout home games, 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) senior Nick Smith, the tallest player in University of Illinois basketball history, would take three-point shots from the top of the key. He made 4 of 11 on the season.

Regular Season[edit]

The Illini started the season by setting a school record with 29 straight wins, the third best start in Big Ten history and tying the 12th best start in NCAA annals. Illinois won its second-ever game over a No. 1-ranked opponent, crushing Wake Forest 91-73 at the Assembly Hall on December 1. After the win, the Illini took over the number 1 overall spot in the national polls and held it for the remainder of the regular season, a run of 15 straight weeks. On January 25, 2005, Illinois defeated Wisconsin 75-65 at the Kohl Center, snapping the Badgers' nation-leading 38-game home court winning streak. In the process, Illinois handed the Badgers their first home court loss since a defeat to, coincidentally, Wake Forest, on December 4, 2002, and also assumed the nation's longest home court winning streak themselves.

Illinois was ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll of 2005, another first for the program. The Illini then went on to win to its second straight outright Big Ten Championship with a 15-1 record, as Weber became the first coach in 100 years of Big Ten basketball to win consecutive outright league championships in his first two seasons.

Post-Season[edit]

The Illini won the Big Ten Tournament, becoming just the second team to win both an outright Big Ten regular season title and the Big Ten Tournament in the same season. In the NCAA tournament, the overall number 1 seeded Illini won their first three games by double digits.

In an Elite Eight matchup, Illinois fell behind early to the University of Arizona due to poor shooting behind the three-point line and sensational play by Arizona's leaders Salim Stoudamire and Channing Frye. The game featured a 15-point comeback from the Illini, triggered by several steals and Deron Williams' clutch three-point shooting, including several NBA range threes, in the last 3 minutes and 30 seconds of the game.

The Illini then defeated The University of Louisville 72-57, the team's largest margin of victory in the tournament, to move on to the 2005 National Championship Game against North Carolina.

In the national championship game, Illinois was defeated by North Carolina 70-75. North Carolina relied upon stellar post play from Sean May, who managed to get James Augustine and Jack Ingram into foul trouble, while Illinois struggled offensively with what had succeeded the rest of the season, converting only 12 of a championship game record 40 three-point field goal attempts. For almost the entire season, Illinois was ranked #1 and North Carolina was ranked #2, respectively, in all polls, and both teams were the favorites to meet in the national championship game. The North Carolina squad would go on to field six players in the NBA draft.

Accolades[edit]

Bruce Weber was named National Coach of the Year by nine organizations. Dee Brown was named The Sporting News National Player of the Year and swept the conference honors as well, being named both Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Illini had three players earn consensus All-America honors in the same season for the first time ever. In addition to Brown earning consensus first-team All-America honors, Deron Williams and Luther Head were named consensus second-team All-Americans. Following the season, both Williams and Head were chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft, with Williams becoming the highest Illinois player ever drafted when he was chosen No. 3 overall by the Utah Jazz.

Team[edit]

Roster[edit]

2004–05 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight Year Previous school Home town
G 4 Head, LutherLuther Head (C) 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Sr Manley Chicago, IL
G 5 Williams, DeronDeron Williams (C) 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Jr The Colony The Colony, TX
G 11 Brown, DeeDee Brown (C) 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Jr Proviso East Maywood, IL
G 15 Brock, CalvinCalvin Brock 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Fr Simeon Career Academy Chicago, IL
G 33 McBride, RichRich McBride 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 215 lb (98 kg) So Lanphier Springfield, IL
F 34 Nkemdi, FredFred Nkemdi (W) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Sr Riverside-Brookfield/Morton Junior College North Riverside, IL
F 40 Augustine, JamesJames Augustine 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Jr Lincoln-Way Central Mokena, IL
F 41 Carter, WarrenWarren Carter 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 220 lb (100 kg) So Lake Highlands Dallas, TX
F 42 Randle, BrianBrian Randle Injured Current redshirt 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) RS So Notre Dame (HS) East Peoria, IL
F 43 Powell, Jr., RogerRoger Powell, Jr. 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 235 lb (107 kg) Sr Joliet Central Joliet, IL
F 44 Arnold, MarcusMarcus Arnold Current redshirt 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 250 lb (113 kg) RS Jr Morgan Park/Illinois State Chicago, IL
C 45 Smith, NickNick Smith 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 250 lb (113 kg) RS Sr Bloomingdale Valrico, FL
F/C 50 Ingram, JackJack Ingram 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 245 lb (111 kg) RS Sr Marshall/Tulsa San Antonio, TX
F 55 Pruitt, ShaunShaun Pruitt 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Fr West Aurora Aurora, IL
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • (W) Walk-on

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starting 5 Bench 1 Bench 2 Bench 3
F/C James Augustine Nick Smith Shaun Pruitt
F Roger Powell, Jr. Jack Ingram Warren Carter Fred Nkemdi
PG Deron Williams      
SG Dee Brown Rich McBride    
SG Luther Head  

Injuries[edit]

Freshman Brian Randle took a medical redshirt after punching a wall in frustration and breaking his hand during preseason practice.[2]

Records[edit]

Season records
Type of record Record
Overall 37–2
Regular season 29–1
Conference 15–1
Non-conference 14–0
Home 15–0
Road 9–1
Neutral 5–0
Neutral (including tournaments) 13–1
Blowouts (10+ points) 31–0

Schedule[edit]

Date
Time, TV
Rank# Opponent# Result Record Site (Attendance)
City, State
Exhibition
Fri, Nov 5*
7:00 PM
No. 5 Southern Illinois-Edwardsville W 78–58 
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Sun, Nov 14*
3:00 PM
No. 5 Lewis W 92–61 
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Non-Conference regular season
Fri, Nov 19*
7:05 PM
No. 6 Delaware State W 87–67  1–0
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Sun, Nov 21*
1:00 PM
No. 6 Florida A&M W 91–60  2–0
Assembly Hall (15,518)
Champaign, IL
Wed, Nov 24*
7:05 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 5 Oakland W 85–54  3–0
Assembly Hall (13,932)
Champaign, IL
Sat, Nov 27*
1:00 PM, WBBM
No. 5 vs. No. 24 Gonzaga W 89–72  4–0
Conseco Fieldhouse (14,183)
Indianapolis, IN
Wed, Dec 1*
6:05 PM, ESPN
No. 5 No. 1 Wake Forest
ACC-Big Ten Challenge
W 91–73  5–0
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Sat, Dec 4*
1:00 PM, ESPN
No. 5 at Arkansas W 72–60  6–0
Alltel Arena (13,140)
North Little Rock, AR
Mon, Dec 6*
7:05 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 5 Chicago State W 78–59  7–0
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Thu, Dec 9*
7:30 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 1 at Georgetown W 74–59  8–0
MCI Center (12,401)
Washington, DC
Sat, Dec 11*
1:00 PM, ESPN
No. 1 vs. Oregon W 83–66  9–0
United Center (21,224)
Chicago, IL
Sun, Dec 19*
4:00 PM
No. 1 Valparaiso W 93–56  10–0
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Wed, Dec 22*
7:05 PM, ESPN2
No. 1 vs. Missouri
Braggin' Rights
W 70–64  11–0
Savvis Center (22,153)
St. Louis, MO
Mon, Dec 27*
7:05 PM
No. 1 Longwood W 105–79  12–0
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Thu, Dec 30*
4:00 PM, FSN
No. 1 vs. Northwestern State
Las Vegas Holiday Classic
W 69–51  13–0
Valley High (2,500)
Las Vegas, NV
Fri, Dec 31*
5:00 PM, FSN
No. 1 vs. No. 22 Cincinnati
Las Vegas Holiday Classic
W 67–45  14–0
Valley High (2,500)
Las Vegas, NV
Big Ten regular season
Wed, Jan 5
8:05 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 1 Ohio State W 84–65  15–0
(1–0)
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Sat, Jan 8
4:00 PM, CBS
No. 1 at Purdue W 68–59  16–0
(2–0)
Mackey Arena (14,123)
West Lafayette, IN
Wed, Jan 12
8:00 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 1 Penn State W 90–64  17–0
(3–0)
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Sat, Jan 15
3:30 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 1 at Northwestern W 78–66  18–0
(4–0)
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Evanston, IL
Thu, Jan 20
6:00 PM, ESPN
No. 1 No. 23 Iowa W 73–68 OT 19–0
(5–0)
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Tue, Jan 25
8:00 PM, ESPN
No. 1 at No. 18 Wisconsin W 75–65  20–0
(6–0)
Kohl Center (17,142)
Madison, WI
Sat, Jan 29
1:30 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 1 Minnesota W 89–66  21–0
(7–0)
Assembly Hall (16,694)
Champaign, IL
Tue, Feb 1
7:05 PM, ESPN
No. 1 at No. 12 Michigan State W 81–68  22–0
(8–0)
Breslin Center (14,759)
East Lansing, MI
Sun, Feb 6
12:00 PM, CBS
No. 1 Indiana W 60–47  23–0
(9–0)
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Tue, Feb 8
7:05 PM, ESPN
No. 1 at Michigan W 57–51  24–0
(10–0)
Crisler Arena (13,751)
Ann Arbor, MI
Sat, Feb 12
12:00 PM, CBS
No. 1 No. 20 Wisconsin W 70–59  25–0
(11–0)
Assembly Hall (16,865)
Champaign, IL
Wed, Feb 16
8:05 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 1 at Penn State W 83–63  26–0
(12–0)
Bryce Jordan Center (10,966)
University Park, PA
Sat, Feb 19
11:05 AM, ESPN
No. 1 at Iowa W 75–65  27–0
(13–0)
Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500)
Iowa City, IA
Wed, Feb 23
7:05 PM, ESPN Plus
No. 1 Northwestern W 84–48  28–0
(14–0)
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Thu, Mar 3
8:00 PM, ESPN2
No. 1 Purdue W 84–50  29–0
(15–0)
Assembly Hall (16,618)
Champaign, IL
Sun, Mar 6
12:00 PM, CBS
No. 1 at Ohio State L 64–65  29–1
(15–1)
Value City Arena (19,200)
Columbus, OH
Big Ten Tournament
Fri, Mar 11
11:00 AM, ESPN
No. 1 vs. Northwestern
Quarterfinals
W 68–51  30–1
United Center (22,413)
Chicago, IL
Sat, Mar 12
11:00 AM, CBS
No. 1 vs. Minnesota
Semifinals
W 64–56  31–1
United Center (23,697)
Chicago, IL
Sun, Mar 13
12:00 PM, CBS
No. 1 vs. No. 23 Wisconsin
Championship Game
W 54–43  32–1
United Center (22,157)
Chicago, IL
NCAA Tournament
Thu, Mar 17*
9:40 PM, CBS
(1 Chicago) No. 1 vs. (16 Chicago) Farleigh Dickinson
First Round
W 67–55  33–1
RCA Dome (26,804)
Indianapolis, IN
Sat, Mar 19*
5:40 PM, CBS
(1 Chicago) No. 1 vs. (9 Chicago) Nevada
Second Round
W 71–59  34–1
RCA Dome (40,331)
Indianapolis, IN
Thu, Mar 24*
6:27 PM, CBS
(1 Chicago) No. 1 vs. (12 Chicago) Milwaukee
Sweet Sixteen
W 77–63  35–1
Allstate Arena (16,957)
Rosemont, IL
Sat, Mar 26*
5:40 PM, CBS
(1 Chicago) No. 1 vs. (3 Chicago) No. 9 Arizona
Elite Eight
W 90–89 OT 36–1
Allstate Arena (16,957)
Rosemont, IL
Sat, Apr 2*
5:07 PM, CBS
(1 Chicago) No. 1 vs. (4 Albuquerque) No. 4 Louisville
Final Four
W 72–57  37–1
Edward Jones Dome (47,754)
St. Louis, MO
Mon, Apr 4*
8:21 PM, CBS
(1 Chicago) No. 1 vs. (1 Syracuse) No. 2 North Carolina
National Championship
L 70–75  37–2
Edward Jones Dome (47,262)
St. Louis, MO
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. (#) Tournament seedings in parentheses.

Season Statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP  Games played   GS  Games started  Avg  Average per game
  FG  Field-goals made  FGA  Field-goal attempts  Off  Offensive rebounds
 Def  Defensive rebounds   A  Assists   TO Turnovers
 Blk  Blocks  Stl  Steals  High  Team high
Statistics[3]
Minutes Scoring Total FGs 3-point FGs Free-Throws Rebounds
Player GP GS Tot Avg Pts Avg FG FGA Pct 3FG 3FA Pct FT FTA Pct Off Def Tot Avg A TO Blk Stl
Head, Luther 39 39 1297 33.3 622 15.9 214 462 .463 116 283 .410 78 99 .788 24 131 155 4.0 150 69 9 67
Brown, Dee 39 39 1272 32.6 518 13.3 179 359 .499 99 228 .434 61 79 .772 21 83 104 2.7 177 73 3 70
Williams, Deron 39 39 1315 33.7 489 12.5 178 411 .433 68 187 .364 65 96 .677 14 128 142 3.6 264 109 8 38
Powell, Roger 39 39 979 25.1 467 12.0 175 319 .549 20 52 .385 97 133 .729 103 119 222 5.7 16 42 9 25
Augustine, James 39 39 1037 26.6 392 10.1 141 227 .621 0 0 .000 110 147 .748 100 195 295 7.6 43 46 46 36
Ingram, Jack 39 0 589 15.1 174 4.5 71 150 .473 9 23 .391 23 29 .793 51 56 107 2.7 17 15 20 26
Smith, Nick 38 0 413 10.9 127 3.3 54 133 .406 4 11 .364 15 23 .652 20 58 78 2.1 24 21 18 11
McBride, Rich 38 0 546 14.4 98 2.6 32 99 .323 27 87 .310 7 7 1.000 16 35 51 1.3 29 19 2 15
Carter, Warren 33 0 261 7.9 74 2.2 32 62 .516 1 6 .167 9 19 .474 19 39 58 1.8 5 14 6 9
Pruitt, Shaun 21 0 97 4.6 29 1.4 10 26 .385 0 0 .000 9 18 .500 10 9 19 0.9 0 10 1 3
Nkemdi, Fred 18 0 44 2.4 12 0.7 6 10 .600 0 0 .000 0 1 .000 4 2 6 0.3 2 6 1 0
Team 43 58 101 4
Total 39 7850 3002 77.0 1092 2258 .484 344 877 .392 474 651 .728 425 913 1338 34.3 727 428 123 300
Opponents 39 7850 2382 61.1 869 2094 .415 233 651 .358 411 618 .665 407 815 1222 31.3 482 580 99 196

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

Year Round Pick Player NBA Club
2005 1 3 Deron Williams Utah Jazz
2005 1 24 Luther Head Houston Rockets
2006 2 41 James Augustine Orlando Magic
2006 2 46 Dee Brown Utah Jazz

[7]

Rankings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2005 Final AP Men's Basketball Poll". College Poll Archive. March 15, 2005. 
  2. ^ "Randle throws a KO punch". chicagotribune.com. November 11, 2004. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ 2004-05 Illinois Season Statistics, FightingIllini.com
  4. ^ List of MVPs
  5. ^ List of MVPs
  6. ^ List of MVPs
  7. ^ 2005 NBA Draft

External links[edit]