As the only regional top seed to advance to Seattle and the only team to make its way to the Kingdome exclusively by way of domes (before playing in the Metrodome, Illinois played its subregional games in the Hoosier Dome), the Flying Illini are the logical favorites—notwithstanding the expert opinion of Michigan football chauvinist and athletic director Bo Schembechler, who may have gotten his team in deep Lou 'do by announcing that the Wolverines "wanted" Illinois. "Good," said Illini assistant coach Dick Nagy. "They got 'em. Anyway, I thought Bo wanted to coach football. He ought to put on shoes and shorts and try to guard Nick low."
Nagy was considerably more exercised than his boss, who wasn't exactly throwing his hat, or even his 'do, into the air. "O.K., I probably could have pulled my sportcoat off and run up and kissed people," said Henson, who guided New Mexico State to the Final Four in 1970. "But I've been through it before. Some of these guys won't be here again. So I'm pleased for them."
At this point Henson's wife, Mary, stepped in and, while patting the 'do, announced that he would be taking out the garbage tomorrow morning. Henson likened a trip to the Final Four to making seven no-trump in bridge. Then he called out to the stragglers remaining in the Illinois locker room. "O.K., if we hurry, we can make it back [to Champaign] for Murder, She Wrote!" And he grinned the goofy grin.