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What Bill Self Accomplished With Illinois Basketball



What Bill Self Accomplished With Illinois Basketball
Mar 20, 2011; Tulsa, OK, USA; A Kansas Jayhawk fan holds a sign about Jayhawks head coach Bill Self (not pictured) who formerly coached the Illinois Fighting Illini during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports Created: 2011-03-20T19:10:46 Restrictions: FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY Credit: © Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports Status: HISTORICAL ARCHIVE, MINIMUM USAGE FEE APPLIES; Uploaded: 2011-03-21T03:31:12 Full Preview Link Copy Link Image ID: 5226678 File Name: 20110320_tjg_ax3_011.jpg Image Size: 1407277 / 2832 x 4256

What Bill Self Accomplished With Illinois Basketball

Illinois Basketball is less than a week away from an exhibition game against Kansas. Kansas is obviously a blue-blood school that has been extremely successful. However, there are quite a few storylines that are sewed into this matchup here. Of course, this game is going to an outstanding cause. This game is dedicated towards helping the relief efforts in Maui after the natural disasters that occurred in that area over the summer. From a basketball standpoint, Hunter Dickinson will play Illinois one last time.

Additionally, I think it is pretty cool to see Bill Self return to Champaign. Self is a hall of fame coach who has had crazy amounts of success at Kansas. Some people may forget that Self spent three years in Champaign as the head man for the Illini before becoming a legend at Kansas.

Self laid the foundation

Bill Self arrived to Champaign after Lon Kruger decided to coach the NBA. Kruger did a fine job finishing off the 1990’s, however Bill Self took the Illini to another level. Self previously took the University of Tulsa to the elite Eight and continued that success while at Illinois. In Self’s first year, the guy earned a one seed while going 27-8, and finished with an Elite Eight. That team featured Frank Williams, Cory Bradford and Brian Cook. The Illini decided to run it back, however made it to the Sweet 16 instead. Overall, the hall-of-fame coach went 78-24 overall with a 35-13 record in the Big Ten.

Bill finished 1st in the big Ten in his first two years in Champaign. Additionally, he was practically responsible for recruiting that entire 2004-2005 roster that made it all the way to the National Championship game. He gave Bruce Weber a lot of tools to work with, however Weber unfortunately failed to sustain that high level of success.

A short, but impactful stay.

It may have been just three years in Champaign, however Bill Self is arguably responsible for the insanely hot start to the 21st century for Illinois. Luckily, Brad Underwood has done a fantastic job in returning Illinois to the top half of the Big Ten much like Bill Self had them. Underwood still needs to find the postseason success and overall consistency, however he is definitely the best coach we have had since Bill Self.

I am eager to see how Illinois fares against a Kansas squad that is expected to compete for the national championship and for Bill Self’s official return to Champaign.

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Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is also the lead content creator and lead editor of all articles on Armchair Illini. He has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS Sports and more.