Greetings from chilly, foggy, snow-covered Columbus, Ohio, which is celebrating its second day of sniper-free living. No one was happier to hear the news than Brett Dawson, Jeff Mezydlo and myself. Charles McCoy has become more notorious than Maurice Clarett these days.
It''s the first time in Columbus for Mezydlo, so we did a little sightseeing Thursday morning. I''m sure there are museums and art galleries somewhere, but we headed straight for the Mecca of Columbian culture: Ohio Stadium. That''s the 100,000-plus-seat home to the Ohio State football team.
University of Illinois junior Adelaide Muir called her performance in last week's semifinals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions a "calm and satisfying experience."
But after she finished singing, "I never had so much twisting in my stomach in all my life," she said, describing how she felt while listening to 90 more minutes of singing by the 19 semifinalists, all of whom she called "incredible."
About 24 hours ago, you read in this space the NCAA men''s tournament predictions of one Bob Asmussen, whose track record in the proficiency department ranks somewhere between Don Quixote and Judge Lance Ito.
Football, basketball, doesn''t matter. Yet he remains undaunted, despite having picked one – is that right, Bob, one? – NCAA tournament champion since the UCLA dynasty. (In his pre-tourney analysis of last year''s East Region, Bob''s "Team in trouble" was Syracuse. The Orangemen presumably had no "trouble" carrying the NCAA trophy back to New York.)
CHAMPAIGN– One of the better options for living on campus may be better known for its first-floor Thai restaurant.
The YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St, C, houses fewer than a dozen male students in five rooms on the third floor. It is closer to the center of the Quad than living in a hotel room at the Illini Union, yet most people don't realize it's a University of Illinois private certified housing option.
SAVOY – Don't look for any major convention centers, trucking companies or air freight businesses around the University of Illinois Willard Airport any time soon, according to an area planner.
A preliminary study by the U.S. 45 Corridor Steering Committee indicates that the airport doesn't generate enough traffic to influence the construction of major hotels, convention centers and industrial development.
CHAMPAIGN – In his long-range planning, Bruce Weber would like to construct an Illini quintet that adheres to Top 25 size standards: big and intimidating.
Forced by personnel idiosyncrasies to favor a three-guard lineup now, Weber is obliged to cover physical shortcomings with speed.
CHAMPAIGN – By definition, roommates tend to know things others don''t, which partly explains why Adam Pummer isn''t going to give up Justin Spring''s secrets without a fight.
Pummer has borne witness to his Illinois gymnastics teammate taking risks on many occasions. And if people hang around the Illini''s training facilities long enough, they''ll see for themselves.
News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth''s weekly review and preview of Illinois sports:
For the real scoop on Murray State, we talked to Travis Ford. His Eastern Kentucky team played the Racers twice during the season, losing 82-71 and 94-70. Here are his thoughts:
Kent Williams remembers the timeout like it was yesterday.
Williams and his Southern Illinois teammates huddled around their coach, Bruce Weber, and though they were being blasted in the second round of the NCAA tournament and though Weber couldn''t have been happy with the direction things were going, an eerie calm surrounded the Saluki bench.