March 2004

Illini Insider

News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth''s weekly review and preview of Illinois sports:


Scouting report

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:


Weber won''t let underdog surprise Illini

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.


Illini NCAA tourney madness hits a fever pitch

When a few dozen elementary school children start cheering, principal Chuck Lowell said the gym at St. John's Lutheran School in Champaign sounds like the Assembly Hall.

Last Friday, groups of kindergarten through eighth-graders watched Illinois' Big Ten basketball tournament game in the gym. They made quite a ruckus as the Illini beat Indiana.


Northrup victorious in coroner race

URBANA – Duane Northrup will get a new badge and a promotion in December, moving up from deputy coroner to coroner, thanks to a win in Tuesday's primary.

Northrup defeated Don Crozier for the Republican Party nomination for the Champaign County coroner's position being vacated by Roger Swaney.


When No. 12 meets No. 5 strange things often happen

When tournament time rolls around, anything can happen. Illinois reserve forward Jack Ingram knows that.

Ingram was a member of 12th-seeded Tulsa when it upset No. 5 seed Marquette in 2002 in St. Louis. It was a big win for In-gram and the Hurricane, but NCAA tournament history reveals it''s not uncommon.


Sewer system questions fail to pass

Sanitary sewers won't be coming to Sidney any time soon, and the prospects for Philo are in doubt.

Sidney voters soundly rejected, by a 225-93 vote, an advisory ballot question Tuesday over the creation of a $6.1 million sanitary sewer system.


Voters support further funding to Blue Ridge

FARMER CITY – Voters on Tuesday approved a referendum proposal for Blue Ridge schools that increased the education fund tax rate by $1.10.

And supporters of the schools celebrated at Farmer City's Victory Christian Center, where they waited for results Tuesday from DeWitt, McLean and Piatt counties. The district's schools are at Farmer City, Bellflower and Mansfield.


Asmussen: It''s time for Mr. Wrong to get it right

Who to pick? Who to pick? Who to pick? - - The first 42 years of my life, it has been pretty easy.

Made the right choice on my wife, a sports fan who doesn''t complain about the satellite dish. Got the right house, a two-minute drive from work and Memorial Stadium. Didn''t go wrong on our cars, the required minivan and a mini-SUV.


Illinois knows teams are brought together in crisis

CHAMPAIGN – With a full roster at full strength, Murray State still might come up empty against Illinois.

The No. 5 seed Illini are bigger, deeper and more highly regarded headed into Friday''s first-round NCAA tournament game against the 12th-seeded Racers.