What is it about March Madness that makes a person hum the CBS tournament jingle and wave his or her index fingers rather violently in the air? Wait, maybe that’s just me.

But seriously, the most exciting sports event in the world is finally here. I’ve filled out my bracket and paid my $5 (times are rough). Now I’m bracing myself for the least productive month of the year. I’m kidding. Hello, boss who might be reading this!

Anyway, long ago, I accepted the fact that the Northwestern Wildcats, in their flamboyant purple uniforms and glorious futility, will never make it to the tourney. So I resigned myself to cheering for my friends’ alma maters for the sake of partaking in this most excellent single-elimination tournament.

Here is a dreamy, wistful look back at 2005, when the Fighting Illini made it to the championship against North Carolina. Flickr’s acidflask took this shot of the Alma Mater statue on the Urbana campus, all dressed up for the big game. The Illini lost 75-70, but at least their statue was looking good.

Alma Mater Plays Basketball by acidflask