We Love No Other 6.4 - Illini Basketball 1998~2002
You've heard Erik's name before when discussing The Stats. I'll just real quickly show you some of The Stats and then we'll get to the podcast we recorded on Illini Basketball from 1998 to 2002.
I first referenced The Stats here when my friend Erik sent them to me in the early 2010's. We explain this more in the podcast, but when arguing with people about our place in the college basketball world, I'd always go back to Erik's Stats. We dropped in a lot of the categories over the 2010's, but here's where we stand as of 2022:
- #14 all time in the NCAA in wins (#14 in winning percentage)
- #20 (tied) all time in NCAA bids (tied for 3nd in the B1G)
- #21 all time in NCAA Tournament wins (second most wins for a team without a title behind Purdue)
- #17 (tied) all time in Final Fours (tied for eighth-most number of Final Fours)
- #11 all time in collective AP poll appearances (including: #16 [tied] in weeks at #1, #18 in the top 5, #13 in the top 10)
- 2nd all-time in B1G conference wins (4th in winning percentage, though that includes Maryland's much smaller sample size)
- 5th highest number of B1G conference titles
- Second most B1G Tournament wins all time (2nd highest [tied] number of championship game appearances, 3rd highest [tied] number of titles)
- Have winning records against every B1G program except Purdue, Indiana (3 games behind), Michigan State (4 games behind), and Maryland
- #22 all time in number of McDonald's All-Americans
The Stats were a lot more meaningful 14 years ago when we were #11 all-time in NCAA bids. We then fell to #22 and have rebounded to be 20th. So yes, The Stats both track where we were and then how far we fell at the end of Weber and throughout the Groce era.
But this podcast isn't solely based on The Stats. I asked Erik to join me for this one because this era ('98 to '02) covers his years as an undergrad. And what a time to be a student. We'd win the Big Ten three of these five years (and even won the Big Ten in football in 2001). Erik was in grad school out of state in the fall of 2001, but name a better time to be an Illini fan than November 25, 2001:
Illinois Football - #8 in the AP Poll
Illinois Basketball - #2 in the AP Poll
Be still my beating heart.
I can feel my brain drifting to "how Illinois football can get back to November 25, 2001" so I'd better get to the basketball podcast. If you want to listen on Apple Podcasts you can do so here and if you want to listen on Spotify you can do so here. Or, if you want to listen online (get a comfy chair because it's 2.5 hours long), you can do so right here: