It was just a bad day at the wrong time for the Illinois basketball team

The Illinois basketball team had a chance to get to the Final 4, but a bad day happened at the wrong time.
Illinois v Connecticut
Illinois v Connecticut / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Wow! Is Illinois basketball that bad or is UConn that good?

UConn is that good, as the Huskies have won their last 10 NCAA tournament games by double-digit points. In four of those 10 games, UConn won by 25 points or more. To beat the Huskies, you need to be on your A-game.

The Illini didn't help themselves because they missed around 10 first-half layups. Or as Charles Barkley said at halftime of the TBS Broadcast, "Man, Illinois should be up by at least 8 but they just keep missing those layups."

"It was like they [Illini] were looking for Clingan instead of going right at him and attacking him," said Barkley.

That wasn't true because the Illini did attack Clingan, but four first half blocked shots will make you adjust your shot. Despite all of the missed layups and the terrible start, Illinois tied the score at 13. The Illini then went down by eight points and fought back to tie the game at 23.

Illinois basketball couldn't take the second half punches from the UConn Huskies

What happened next was something that will probably be talked about in Illini, UConn, and NCAA tournament history because you probably won't see a 30-0 run to start a second half again.

It really was 35-0 because UConn scored the last five points of the second half. Said Dan Hurley in an interview, "I just feel like we turned it up a notch."

By the time Illinois had scored their first points of the second half, I started to write this story because as former Chicago White Sox Broadcaster Hawk Harrelson used to say, "This ball game is over."

Illinois needed their best player Terrance Shannon Jr. to score more than eight points. Marcus Domask scored 17 points but there wasn't help from anywhere else. The positive was freshman Amani Hansberry scoring eight points.

Despite this blowout, I thought that this season was a success and should provide the true blueprint moving forward for Illinois.

Illinois was the Big Ten Tournament champions, stayed in the AP Top 15 all year, battled through the six-game suspension of Shannon, an All-American, beat the No. 1 defensive efficiency team, and most importantly got to the Elite 8.

This was a great Illinois season that would have been better if not for the fact that the Illini's worst matchups came against two teams with 7-footers.