Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 3/2/13
Illini basketball (21-9, 8-8) celebrated the 50th anniversary of Assembly Hall (the REAL Assembly Hall, unlike the one where the Hoosiers play) by squeaking by Big Ten doormat Nebraska 72-65 (13-16, 4-12). The senior day victory over the Cornhuskers is exactly 50 years from when the Assembly Hall first opened its doors on March 2, 1963. Scheduling the Huskers for Senior day is like scheduling the Hoosiers in football for homecoming- you want to give the crowd a very high probability of victory. But it almost didn’t happen. Illini basketball seniors Kevin Berardini, Tyler Griffey, Sam McLaurin, Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson were honored in senior day ceremonies before a game that was way too close for comfort. For Illini basketball fans, this was Norfolk St., Gardner-Webb, Western Carolina, Auburn, Penn State and Hawaii all over again- a narrow win over a supremely inferior opponent. However, this really makes an NCAA bid very close to secure for Illini basketball. Eight Big Ten wins and 21 overall should be enough for them given the strength of their resume and the Big Ten conference. The Big Ten is far and away the best conference in RPI, and 8-10 should be enough given the Illini SOS and RPI. They’ve beaten both the #1 Indiana Hoosiers and #2 Gonzaga. Illinois has played 11 RPI Top 25 opponents this season, the most of any team in the nation. Illinois is currently 5-6 vs. the RPI Top 25. Illini basketball five wins against the RPI Top 25 are tied with Michigan State and Kansas for the second-highest total nationally, behind only the Hoosiers. In addition to the events at Saturday’s game, memorable Assembly Hall moments will be highlighted throughout the week at FightingIllini.com, on the Fighting Illini Basketball Facebook page, and on the @IlliniHoops Twitter page. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #AH50 to post their favorite memories of Assembly Hall. As of April 2, 2008, the Assembly Hall was added to the annual top ten endangered Illinois historic places list, as published by Landmarks Illinois, a non-profit historic preservation group. The only other endangered athletic site on the list is the Cubs Wrigley Field in Chicago. Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker A Fulbright scholar, author and MBA, Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) The post Illini basketball resume looks very NCAA ready with Senior Day victory appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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