In the first installment of “Tuesday Turnover,” The College Basketball Nostalgic will review the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
So why begin with this tournament?
Well, there are several reasons.
At the time, I was a junior in high school, which possibly meant missing the first two days of the tournament. As that was not going to happen, I was usually able to convince my parents to skip school for at least the first Friday of the tournament. As for the Thursday, that was much harder, thus leading to my decision to start recording as many games as possible, which meant a run to Best Buy to load up on tapes.
Second, this tournament marked an important transition in my basketball fandom. Having grown up in Chicago, I was naturally a huge Bulls and bigger NBA fan up until this point.
However, this changed in
Knowing that the Bulls would no longer be worth watching, I turned my attention to college basketball, which had slowly begun to steal my interest around the 1997 NCAA Tournament, when Arizona won the title as a four seed and became my favorite non-Illinois team for the next ten years.
Of course, in 1999, DePaul had a stud recruiting class of Quentin Richardson from Whitney Young High School, Bobby Simmons of Simeon fame, and Lance Williams from Carver. While seemingly headed to Kansas, Richardson had been a late get for DePaul and predicted a Final Four that season, which did not happen. DePaul did not even make the tournament in 1999.
As for the Fighting Illini, I began taking notice in 1998, when an unheralded team of five seniors got the team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In 1999, Illinois had a ton of promising freshmen that finished last in the Big Ten but made it to the final of the Big Ten Tournament, just missing out on the 1999 tourney.
Nonetheless, 1999 holds a special place in my heart as the year college basketball surpassed the NBA.
With all of this said, here is brief recollection of the major story lines that come to mind from the 1999 NCAA Tournament.