Illinois made its seventh NCAA Final Four trip overall, and its first since 1989. If Illinois wins its quarterfinal game against Purdue, it will advance to the semifinals for just the second time in school history.
The Fighting Illini last reached the final four in 1989 when they lost to Michigan State 3-1 in the championship game. Since then, Illinois has only made one other appearance: in 1998 when they were eliminated by Duke 4-1.
Overall, Illinois is 49-4 when it advances to the semifinal round of the NCAA Tournament. The program has won at least 30 games each year since 1990 and has made the postseason every year except 1992. Illinois' average margin of victory in those games that ended in victory was 19.3 points per match.
After losing their opening game last year to Wisconsin, many people wrote off the Fighting Illini's chances of making another run at a national title. However, head coach John Groce led his team to an 11-5 record down the stretch play and earned a spot in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. He is a prime candidate for Coach of the Year honors after leading Illinois to its first undefeated regular season (31-0) since 1937.
For the first time in school history, the Illini defeated Louisville in the national semifinals to proceed to the title game. In the championship game, Illinois faced Kentucky for a chance to win its first national title.
Kentucky had a 12-1 record when it came to the NCAA Tournament at the time, with all of its wins coming by at least 20 points. The only loss was to then-undefeated UConn, who would eventually be ousted in the second round by Illinois. The Wildcats were led by All-American candidate Jason Richards, who was averaging 25 points per game before he went down with an injury in the first quarter of their semifinal matchup with Illinois. He returned in the second half, but wasn't enough to help Kentucky defeat the No. 1 seed.
The Illini beat Kentucky by 19 points to advance to the final four for the first time in program history. Derrick Rose (pictured above on the right) scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Aaron Gray added 16 points and nine boards as Illinois advanced to its first Final Four in St. Louis.
Richards would miss the entire 1994-95 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.
The University of Illinois Fighting Illini's official 2020–21 men's basketball cumulative statistics. Men's Basketball Cumulative Statistics 2020–21-University of Illinois Athletics Navigate to the primary content scoreboard. Athletics at the University of Illinois
The Premo-Porretta Power Poll gave Illinois one pre-tournament national title and one non-NCAA tournament national championship in 1915 and 1943, respectively. Illinois has made 31 appearances in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, with 5 Final Fours, 9 Elite Eights, and 17 Big Ten regular season titles.
Illinois made its seventh NCAA Final Four trip overall, and its first since 1989. For the first time in school history, the Illini defeated Louisville in the national semifinals to proceed to the title game.
There are five national championships. Illinois has five national championships and 15 Big Ten titles. The Illini have won more than any other school. Iowa has two titles and Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin each have one.
Illinois has won more NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championships than any other program. The University of Illinois men's basketball team has 24 National Championships - more than the next two most successful programs combined (Michigan State with 12, North Carolina with 11). In fact, no other program comes close: UCLA has most recently been recognized as a top-five program, but it actually has 29 total titles when you include appearances by former UCLA players who went on to play for Chicago's DePaul University team that won in 1917. Illinois has also beaten all but one of the schools with multiple titles (Wisconsin has beat Iowa twice), and it's unlikely that situation will change anytime soon.
In addition to its success in basketball, the University of Illinois has had extensive success in other sports including baseball, football, soccer, and tennis. Each year since 2004, Illinois has at least one athlete win an individual national championship. As expected, none of these events have anything to do with basketball!