Facebook Live: We watched the Flyin' Illini vs. Georgia Tech with Stephen Bardo
Our Facebook Live series presented by Auto-Owners Insurance continued Wednesday with another former Big Ten athlete re-living a legendary game.
Former member of the “Flyin’ Illini” and current BTN basketball analyst Stephen Bardo sat down with me to re-watch an iconic Illini basketball upset from 1989 vs. Georgia Tech. Illinois was undefeated at 16-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country heading into the game, and a win would make them the No. 1 team in the country the following week.
The Illini won in double-overtime, 103-92. Bardo finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and Kenny Battle delivered the ultimate exclamation point with a thunderous jam in the second overtime. You can watch the entire Facebook Live version with Bardo above. Follow Bardo on Twitter @stephenbardo.
We’ve now re-watched three old Big Ten basketball games and two football game with former Big Ten players on Facebook Live, and it’s been a lot of fun pulling them off.
BTN.com Senior Writer Tom Dienhart got this new series started when he sat down with former Iowa player and current BTN analyst Jess Settles to watch an Illinois vs. Iowa game from 1996. I sat down with former Wisconsin Badger Ben Brust to re-live his 2013 half-court buzzer beater against Michigan back in February. Former Michigan hooper Zack Novak (who actually now works in the same office building that holds the BTN studios!) was kind enough to join us in March to take us through a pivotal Michigan vs. Michigan State basketball game from 2011. Former Nebraska wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp joined me to re-watch his miracle Hail Mary catch from 2013. And former Illinois linebacker and current BTN football analyst J Leman joined me to re-watch Illinois’ win over No. 1 Ohio State in 2007.
We pulled some of the best snippets from Bardo’s segment below:
(Skip to 5:30): Stephen describes how members of the Flyin’ Illini recruiting class agreed to go to Illinois together while playing at an AAU tournament.
(7:15): Stephen got into the different forms of creative trash talk he liked to dish out on the court.
(9:15): Stephen described the phenomenon of the Flyin’ Illini during their NCAA tournament run, and how players had to use fake names on the road.
(34:20) Stephen offered a simple description of what would’ve happened if Illinois had beaten Michigan in the Final Four to play Seton Hall in the title game: “We would’ve run Seton Hall off the floor.”
(44:25): On Kendall Gill’s absence following his injury and the way he worked to get back into the lineup: “He was a workout fiend.”
(57:43-58:37): On Kenny Battle’s exclamation-point dunk at the end: “My man got up, but he got put on a poster.”