1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team

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1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball
1988-89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team.jpg
Illini Classic, Champion
Rainbow Classic, Champion [1]
Conference Big Ten Conference
Ranking
Coaches No. 3
AP No. 3
1988–89 record 31–5 (14–4 Big Ten)
Head coach Lou Henson
Assistant coach Dick Nagy
Assistant coach Jimmy Collins
Assistant coach Mark Coomes
Scott Nagy
MVP Nick Anderson
Captain Kenny Battle
Lowell Hamilton
Home arena Assembly Hall
Seasons
1988–89 Big Ten Conference men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
#8 Indiana 15 3   .833     27 8   .771
#3 Illinois 14 4   .778     31 5   .861
#10 Michigan 12 6   .667     30 7   .811
#14 Iowa 10 8   .556     23 10   .697
Minnesota 9 9   .500     19 12   .613
Wisconsin 8 10   .444     18 12   .600
Purdue 8 10   .444     15 16   .484
Ohio State 6 12   .333     19 15   .559
Michigan State 6 12   .333     18 15   .545
Northwestern 2 16   .111     9 19   .321
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team represented the University of Illinois.

Regular season[edit]

The 1988-89 team may have been the most talented team ever assembled at the University of Illinois, the team was so athletic that they could "run and alley-oop" baskets using even the non-starting players, and a record number of 100+ game scores reflected this fact. The players known as the “Flying Illini,” included all the important pieces from the 1987-88 squad (Kenny Battle, Kendall Gill, Steve Bardo, Lowell Hamilton, Nick Anderson and Larry Smith) as well as junior college All-American P.J. Bowman and former high school All-American Marcus Liberty. The Fighting Illini won their first 16 games and were ranked No. 2 in the nation going into a nationally televised game against Georgia Tech, whom Illinois had already beaten, 80-75, at the Rainbow Classic in December. The Yellow Jackets led, 47-31, but Illinois managed to surge back to force overtime, eventually needing two extra periods to win the game. Along with the No. 1 ranking the next day came some bad news. Illinois’ catalyst, Gill, had broken a bone in his foot and would miss the next 12 games. Hurt by the loss of Gill, Illinois lost three of the next four games and its No. 1 ranking. The Illini rallied to finish second in the Big Ten with a 14-4 record and with Gill back in the lineup, the Illini were awarded a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. After rolling to victories over McNeese State and Ball State at the Hoosier Dome, a powerpacked regional in Minneapolis with Missouri, Louisville and Syracuse, stood in the way of Illinois’ trip to the Final Four. Louisville fell victim to Illinois, losing 83-69, which set up a regional final matchup with Syracuse, the Fighting Illini held off Syracuse to advance to the Final Four in Seattle where Illinois faced Michigan, a team it had beaten twice already in conference play, in the national semifinals. Michigan was inspired by the firing of their coach prior to the tournament, and won a game that contained 33 lead changes,[2] despite Battle’s 29-point, 11-rebound effort, Illinois fell to eventual national-champion Michigan, 83-81.

Roster[edit]

1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Height Weight Year Previous school Hometown
G 10 Bowman, P.J.P.J. Bowman 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Jr Centennial High School Champaign, Illinois
G 13 Gill, KendallKendall Gill 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Jr Rich Central High School Matteson, Illinois
G 15 Smith, TravisTravis Smith 5 ft 11 in (1.8 m) 175 lb (79 kg) So Gallatin High School Ridgway, Illinois
F/C 21 Jones, RodneyRodney Jones 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Jr West Philadelphia High School Philadelphia, PA
G 22 Manzke, EddieEddie Manzke 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Sr Marist High School Orland Park, Illinois
G 23 Smith, LarryLarry Smith 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Jr Alton High School Alton, Illinois
F 24 Small, ErvinErvin Small 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Jr Simeon High School Chicago, Illinois
G/F 25 Anderson, NickNick Anderson 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Jr Simeon High School Chicago, Illinois
G 30 Liberty, MarcusMarcus Liberty 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 190 lb (86 kg) RS So King High School Chicago, Illinois
G/F 32 O'Connell, BrianBrian O'Connell 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Jr Schaumburg High School Schaumburg, Illinois
F 33 Battle, KennyKenny Battle (C) 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) RS Sr West Aurora High School Aurora, Illinois
F 34 Kaufmann, AndyAndy Kaufmann 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Fr Jacksonville High School Jacksonville, Illinois
G/F 35 Bardo, StephenStephen Bardo 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Jr Carbondale Community High School Carbondale, Illinois
F 50 MacDonald, MikeMike MacDonald 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Sr Streamwood High School Streamwood, Illinois
F/C 45 Hamilton, LowellLowell Hamilton (C) 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Sr Providence St. Mel High School Chicago, Illinois
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • (W) Walk-on

All-Time Illini Roster

Source[3] [4]

Schedule[edit]

Source[5]

Date
time, TV
Rank# Opponent# Result Record Site (attendance)
city, state
Non-Conference regular season
11/26/1988*
no, no
No. 9 vs. Illinois-Chicago W 85-59  1-0
Assembly Hall (13,800)
Champaign, IL
11/29/1988*
no, no
No. 7 vs. Metro State W 86-55  2-0
Assembly Hall (13,911)
Champaign, IL
12/3/1988*
no, no
No. 7 vs. Mississippi W 91-79  3-0
Assembly Hall (14,386)
Champaign, IL
12/6/1988*
no, no
No. 7 vs. Florida (#19) W 97-67  4-0
Assembly Hall (15,020)
Champaign, IL
12/9/1988*
no, no
No. 7 vs. Duquesne
Illini Classic
W 112-81  5-0
Assembly Hall (14,532)
Champaign, IL
12/10/1988*
no, no
No. 7 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
Illini Classic
W 107-88  6-0
Assembly Hall (14,887)
Champaign, IL
12/17/1988*
no, no
No. 6 @ Tennessee Tech W 105-77  7-0
Assembly Hall (12,794)
Champaign, IL
12/19/1988*
no, no
No. 6 vs. Missouri (#10)
Braggin' Rights
W 87-84  8-0
St. Louis Arena (18,561)
St. Louis, MO
12/22/1988*
no, no
No. 5 @ Louisiana State W 127-100  9-0
Pete Maravich Assembly Center (14,192)
Baton Rouge, LA
12/28/1988*
no, no
No. 4 vs. Tulsa
Rainbow Classic
W 54-56  10-0
Neal S. Blaisdell Center (3,173)
Honolulu, HI
12/29/1988*
no, no
No. 4 vs. Georgia Tech (#17)
Rainbow Classic
W 80-75  11-0
Neal S. Blaisdell Center (5,775)
Honolulu, HI
12/28/1988*
no, no
No. 4 @ Hawaii
Rainbow Classic
W 96-87  12-0
Neal S. Blaisdell Center (6,379)
Honolulu, HI
Big Ten regular season
1/7/1989
no, no
No. 3 vs. Michigan State W 71-54  13-0 (1-0)
Assembly Hall (16,497)
Champaign, IL
1/12/1989
no, no
No. 2 vs. Wisconsin W 103-80  14-0 (2-0)
Assembly Hall (14,433)
Champaign, IL
1/14/1989
no, no
No. 2 vs. Michigan (#6) W 96-84  15-0 (3-0)
Assembly Hall (14,499)
Champaign, IL
1/19/1989
no, no
No. 2 @ Northwestern W 75-70  16-0 (4-0)
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Evanston, IL
1/22/1989*
no, no
No. 2 vs. Georgia Tech W 103-92 2OT 17-0
Assembly Hall (16,561)
Champaign, IL
1/26/1989
no, no
No. 1 @ Minnesota L 62-69  17-1 (4-1)
Williams Arena (13,766)
Minneapolis, MN
1/28/1989
no, no
No. 1 vs. Indiana (#16)
Rivalry
W 75-65  18-1 (5-1)
Assembly Hall (16,563)
Champaign, IL
2/2/1989
no, no
No. 2 @ Purdue L 72-76  18-2 (5-2)
Mackey Arena (14,123)
West Lafayette, IN
2/5/1989
no, no
No. 2 @ Iowa (#9) L 82-86  18-3 (5-3)
Carver–Hawkeye Arena (15,500)
Iowa City, IA
2/9/1980
no, no
No. 7 vs. Ohio State (#16) W 62-60  19-3 (6-3)
Assembly Hall (16,439)
Champaign, IL
2/11/1989
no, no
No. 7 vs. Northwestern W 86-69  20-3 (7-3)
Assembly Hall (16,471)
Champaign, IL
2/16/1989
no, no
No. 5 @ Michigan State
East Lansing, MI
W 75-56  21-3 (8-3)
{{{site_stadium}}} (10,004)
Jenison Fieldhouse
2/18/1989
no, no
No. 5 @ Wisconsin L 52-72  21-4 (8-4)
Wisconsin Field House (11,886)
Madison, WI
2/20/1989
no, no
No. 5 vs. Purdue W 102-75  22-4 (9-4)
Assembly Hall (16,415)
Champaign, IL
2/26/1989
no, no
No. 10 @ Ohio State W 94-71  23-4 (10-4)
St. John Arena (13,276)
Columbus, OH
3/2/1989
no, no
No. 8 vs. Minnesota W 63-58  24-4 (11-4)
Assembly Hall (16,455)
Champaign, IL
3/5/1989
no, no
No. 8 vs. Indiana (#3)
Rivalry
W 70-67  25-4 (12-4)
Assembly Hall (17,311)
Bloomington, IN
3/8/1989
no, no
No. 4 vs. Iowa (#15) W 118-94  26-4 (13-4)
Assembly Hall (16,552)
Champaign, IL
3/11/1989
no, no
No. 4 @ Michigan (#8) W 89-73  27-4 (14-4)
Crisler Center (13,609)
Ann Arbor, MI
NCAA Tournament[6]
3/16/1989*
no, no
No. 3 vs. McNeese State
First Round
W 77-71  28-4
RCA Dome (37,242)
Indianapolis, IN
3/18/1989*
no, no
No. 3 vs. Ball State (#18)
Second Round
W 72-60  29-4
RCA Dome (37,444)
Indianapolis, IN
3/24/1989*
no, no
No. 3 vs. Louisville (#12)
Regional Semifinals
W 83-69  30-4
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (33,560)
Minneapolis, MN
3/26/1989*
no, no
No. 3 vs. Syracuse (#7)
Regional Finals
W 89-86  31-4
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (33,469)
Minneapolis, MN
4/1/1989*
no, no
No. 3 vs. Michigan (#10)
National Semifinals
L 81-83  31-5
Kingdome (39,187)
Seattle, WA
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. (#) Tournament seedings in parentheses.
All times are in Central Time.


Player stats[edit]

Player Games Played Minutes Played 2 pt. Field Goals 3 pt. Field Goals Free Throws Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals Points
Nick Anderson [7] 36 1125 238 24 99 285 72 32 57 647
Kenny Battle [8] 36 1105 209 9 151 174 64 13 89 596
Lowell Hamilton[9] 36 943 219 0 50 204 24 31 21 488
Kendall Gill[10] 24 681 105 38 46 70 91 6 51 370
Marcus Liberty[11] 36 748 114 6 57 141 42 10 38 303
Stephen Bardo [12] 36 1000 65 29 76 144 148 8 34 293
Larry Smith[13] 36 695 63 3 40 73 157 5 28 175
P.J. Bowman[14] 29 284 6 22 9 28 26 1 7 87
Ervin Small[15] 36 392 26 0 27 76 5 0 10 77
Andy Kaufmann[16] 12 136 11 5 14 20 8 1 5 51
Mike MacDonald[17] 23 60 7 0 1 10 1 0 1 15
Brian O'Connell[18] 4 5 1 0 2 3 0 0 0 4
Eddie Manzke[19] 18 25 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1

Awards and honors[edit]

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

Player NBA Club Round Pick
Nick Anderson Orlando Magic 1 11
Kenny Battle Detroit Pistons 2 27

[22]

Rankings[edit]

References[edit]