"UNC: the real team of destiny" / IDSNews.com

It wasn't supposed to end this way for the Illini. They had it all. The team-first assist oriented offense that beat 37 teams, pesky defense, kids with hearts as large as the state they represented, and a coach and fan-base that believed in them. It was all there.

The bandwagon grew with each win and eventually turned into a standing-room only double-decker bus with people waiting at each stop to hop on for this magical ride. Their orange-clad fans engulfed every post-season venue in which they played, bringing homecourt advantage in Indianapolis, Chicago and St. Louis.

And when tragedy struck in the form of Bruce Weber's mom's death, it inspired and brought a sense of purpose to the players and their remaining season. They would play for her, and when Coach Weber referred to his mother as a reason for the Illini's unfathomable 15 point comeback against Arizona, destiny seemed to be on their side.