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NCAA Basketball 10 Simulation: Illinois vs. Michigan

In what was one of the wildest simulation games I've ever seen, the Illini fell to the Wolverines by one point in Ann Arbor.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being nearly five years old, NCAA Basketball 10 still plays remarkably well. Even when it's the CPU playing itself! This time it was the Illini taking on the Michigan Wolverines for the first game of conference play in Ann Arbor. And boy, was it a wild one. The entire breakdown of how the game played out is below, but let's just say the final looked more like an NBA score than a college one.

1st Half:

The Wolverines came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, and before I could blink it was 10-2 Michigan. John Groce called an early timeout but it was to no avail. At the under twelve timeout the Wolverines led 22-11, doubling the Illini's score. Despite Michigan being a measly 7-5, it was only a matter of time before one of their players had a breakout game, and two of them had one against Illinois.

Caris LeVert hit six early free-throws after drawing contact and accumulated 15 points out of the Wolverines' 22 to start the game. The other seven had been scored by Derrick Walton Jr, including two long three-pointers that were actually banked in. This was looking like "one of those games" for the Illini, but I'll give them credit, they never gave up. Down by as many as fifteen points in the first half, Illinois tried to close the deficit to under ten points by halftime, and they did just that.

Rayvonte Rice unfortunately got three early personal fouls and had to sit out nearly half the game. That left Ahmad Starks, Kendrick Nunn, and Aaron Cosby to carry the load offensively, and carry the load they did. The three of them combined to connect on six shots from behind the arc and also helped dish out seven assists. This was shaping up to be one of the highest-scoring simulations I'd ever seen, but the Illini managed to cut the halftime deficit to only eight.

Halftime: Michigan 55, Illinois 47

2nd Half:

This is where the game got crazy. Both teams, already shooting lights-out, came out of the half on fire. Malcolm Hill and Jaylon Tate each knocked down a pair of triples and suddenly the game was tied at 63 a piece. But then back came the Wolverines and Caris LeVert. Playing out of his mind, LeVert hit sixteen field goals by himself, including a dagger three-pointer that put Michigan back up by ten at the under-twelve timeout of the second half. John Groce was not happy on the sidelines.

LeVert ended up with 45 points on the day, but he was quieter in the final twelve minutes of the game. That's when Derrick Walton Jr. took over. He scored 36 points including several three-pointers and nine free-throws. LeVert and Walton combined to score nearly 70% of the Wolverines' points.

Due to foul trouble, Groce was forced to play his bench rotation of Tate, Black, Morgan, Colbert, and LaTulip far more than he probably wanted to. But Mike LaTulip, a fan favorite, made the most of his time in the game, scoring a career-high fourteen points including four three-pointers that helped the Illini once again climb back into the game. With only two minutes remaining, the game was tied at 102, one of the highest regulation scores I'd seen in a while. This was an incredibly entertaining to witness.

LeVert and Walton each got to the line three times in the final moments of the game, as the Illini needed to foul to stay in it. Cosby and Starks each hit a late three and it was only a two-point deficit with twenty seconds to go, 110-108. Another foul-fest ensued and the Wolverines were up by four with minimal time remaining. Kendrick Nunn hit a three at the buzzer to make it a one-point loss, but it was certainly a tough one to swallow. It's not often that you can score 116 points in a college basketball game and lose.

Final: Michigan 117, Illinois 116

Below you can find the entire box score from the game to marvel in its absurdity.

Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan Wolverines
Dec 30, 2014 1ST 2ND SCORE
Illinois  (10-4) 47 66 116
Michigan  (8-5) 55 62 117
Illinois Fighting Illini
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Ahmad Starks 25 6-15 4-11 3-3 0 6 3 1 4 19
Kendrick Nunn 25 3-7 3-5 3-4 3 2 1 0 1 14
Rayvonte Rice 20 2-7 0-4 2-2 3 4 1 0 0 6
Malcolm Hill 24 4-17 2-6 0-0 0 1 1 0 3 10
Nnnanna Egwu 27 6-7 0-0 3-4 7 7 1 1 3 15
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Aaron Cosby 13 8-11 4-7 3-3 3 1 1 2 0 18
Leron Black 10 3-4 2-2 0-0 4 1 1 0 1 8
Jaylon Tate 8 2-5 2-2 0-0 1 2 3 0 1 6
Austin Colbert 7 2-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 1 0 0 4
Maverick Morgan 6 1-4 0-0 0-0 1 2 0 1 0 2
Mike LaTulip 5 5-8 4-6 0-0 0 1 0 0 0 14
TEAM TOTALS 42-88 21-43 14-16 23 28 13 5 13 116
Michigan Wolverines
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Zak Irvin 29 4-9 0-0 3-6 4 10 1 1 3 11
Derrick Walton Jr. 33 12-18 3-4 9-9 0 4 0 0 10 36
Caris LeVert 33 16-18 1-2 12-12 6 5 2 0 6 45
Ricky Doyle 31 2-3 0-0 2-2 11 3 1 0 1 6
Kameron Chatman 23 4-7 1-1 0-0 10 1 1 0 1 9
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
Spike Albrecht 10 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 1 0 1 0 2
Mark Donnal 4 3-7 0-3 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 6
Aubrey Dawkins 1 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0 0 2
Max Bielfeldt 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 1 0
TEAM TOTALS 42-74 5-10 28-31 35 24 5 2 22 117