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Well, that was something

Fun. Illinois basketball is fun.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

I have never seen a basketball game like the one we saw last night.

I’ve seen some dominant performances. I’ve seen good teams get blown out. I’ve seen games that were over by the first TV timeout.

But I have never seen a team look so dominant in the second half after trailing by double-digits at halftime. Heck, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a second-half performance as dominant as Illinois’ last night period.

Just look at how the second half went:

  • 8-0 Illini run
  • Two Northwestern free throws
  • 5-0 Illini run
  • Northwestern three
  • 17-0 Illini run
  • Northwestern jumper
  • 8-0 Illini run
  • Two Northwestern free throws
  • Kofi Cockburn hook shot
  • Two Northwestern free throws
  • 7-0 Illini run
  • Two Northwestern free throws
  • 6-0 Illini run

Illinois had six separate runs of five or more points in the second half. Meanwhile, Northwestern made just two field goals. Those are some laugh-out-loud numbers.

And speaking of laughing out loud, here’s ESPN’s win probability graph for the game:

Win probability graphs aren’t supposed to look like that. Northwestern had over a 90% chance of winning at halftime. Illinois had over a 99% chance of winning with five minutes remaining. Swings like that just don’t happen.

Seriously, there hasn’t been a college basketball game like this in recent memory.

Thousands of teams had trailed by 15 or more at halftime over the past 25 years. None had come back to win by 25 points. None, until last night. I’m not even sure if that’s impressive; in order to do that you have to be down by 15 points in the first place. But above anything else, it’s weird.

And I think I found my favorite weird stat from the game.

  • Points scored on the left rim: 41.
  • Points scored on the right rim: 96.

That’s really just a stupid way of saying that Illinois’ second-half scoring margin was 55 points greater than its first-half scoring margin, but I thought the stat was funny. And this game was just funny overall. I mean, I don’t know how many times I actually laughed out loud in the second half. Every time the announcer said something like “Illinois has outscored Northwestern 30-5 in the second half,” I giggled a little bit.

We Illini fans have become accustomed to laughing at ourselves over the past decade, as both Illinois basketball and Illinois football have seemed to frequently find new ways to lose. At times, the losses were comically bad.

But last night, Illinois was comically good.

How’s that for a change?