WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WCIA) — It’s been 13 years. nearly to the day, since Illinois basketball took down No. 1 Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Champaign. It’s a memory Illini fans won’t soon forget, the first marquee win on the team’s way to playing in the national championship game. Current Illini junior Michael Finke was just eight years old at the time but still has fond memories of it.
“I remember to Orange Krush camping out the night before and just everyone out there thinking it was so cool, just the atmosphere,” Finke said. “It was the orange out, everyone was wearing orange in the gym and they didn’t just win, they won it handily. Chris Paul and making a statement like that and obviously going on to the Final 4 later on that year so it was a really good game for Illinois and a lot of fun to be part of that as a fan.”
“Everyone talks about it and obviously it was two elite teams and you’ve got two guys that went on to stellar NBA careers in Chris Paul and Deron (Williams) and Dee (Brown) and that set the precedent for a great run,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “I wouldn’t expect tomorrow to be any different.”
Illinois and Wake Forest tip off Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.