(CBS) Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times has a splended piece out today that reflects on the 25-year anniversary of the 1988-89 Illinois basketball team, best known as the Flying Illini, who reached the Final Four before being upset by a Michigan team they’d breezed by twice in the regular season.
In the story, several Illini players say the loss has stuck with them to this day.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the opportunity we had to win the whole thing,” said Kenny Battle, a forward on the team, according to the Sun-Times.
“As competitive as I am? It (ticks) me off to (remember) that we worked so hard all year, then lost to a team we blew out at their place the last game of the year, as well as at our place. To lose by two? It’ll always be there. I’ll never forget it.”
Nick Anderson, another future NBA standout, said if the Illinois had played Michigan in a seven-game series that the Illini would’ve “killed them.”
“I feel we were the best team never to win the national championship,” said Kendall Gill, a star guard and future NBA player.
Read Greenberg’s full story here.