Of course, no one could have predicted (no, not even me) that the Lions would crawl back into a tie, and then go toe-to-toe with the Illini over the last three minutes, trading clutch shot after clutch shot, until finally the Illini failed to get off the last game-winning shot by so close a margin, it was only called off on video replay.
The game even elevated lowly Penn State to mention in the ESPN weekly watch, where Doug Gottlieb put in his case for this game being the upset of the year:
- Penn State pulled off what, in my mind, should be considered the upset of the year in college basketball. I know North Dakota State beat Wisconsin at Kohl, but the Badgers were limited by injury/suspension, they shot the ball terribly and, frankly, this is not a very good Badger team in comparison (they have now lost five of six).
Illinois, on the other hand, was a red-hot ballclub that thumped Wisconsin at Kohl earlier in the week. The Illini shot 49 percent in the loss and, like Iowa, play at an incredible level when in front of the home fans. Yet Penn State, which coming into this year had not won a Big Ten road game (it beat Purdue at Mackey this year) since 2001, came from 16 points down to shock the world.