Two games' worth of insights

Updated: February 18, 2005, 2:00 AM ET
By Elena Bergeron, Bruce Feldman and Edward McGregor | Special to ESPN Insider
Editor's note: ESPN The Magazine went behind the scenes with Illinois. Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes look at the team's support staff.

What's it take to be No. 1? How does a team with a bull's-eye on its back keep a perfect season alive? Can a school that's never won the NCAA Tournament go all the way?

To find out, we went to Champaign, Ill., with an all-access pass for a two-game, home-road stretch in early February. We were embedded with the Illini at home and at practice, in team meetings and strategy sessions, on the ground and in the air.

Edward McGregor