March 2004

March 2004

Bleill: Parity''s guaranteed this time around

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.)

It's smart to stay at the YMCA

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.

Study looks at business prospects in airport area

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.

Tate: Illini power play depends on Powell

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.

Piland wins primary battle

URBANA – Champaign County State's Attorney John Piland, a two-term incumbent Republican, beat back a primary challenge Tuesday from Urbana attorney Bruce Ratcliffe.

Piland won the GOP primary, 54 percent to 46 percent.

Johnson thinks his wrestlers will shine in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – He has a contract extension and a happy athletic director. All that is fine and good. But what Mark Johnson really wants is a trophy from this weekend''s NCAA wrestling meet.

It''s one of two missing pieces of hardware for Johnson, who also craves winning the Big Ten meet.

Mat men

Starting Thursday, the Illinois wrestling team seeks its first top four finish at the NCAA meet since 1948. Here are coach Mark Johnson''s eight Illini who qualified:

Tate: Of Illinois, its coach and its fans

Rocked by the suspension of their No. 2 scorer, playing no games since March 6 and carrying a midmajor mentality, Murray State''s senior-laden Racers feel no pressure this week. What do they have to lose?

Illinois is on an entirely different level. The heat is on in Columbus, Ohio.

Gill will face Johnson

CHAMPAIGN – At the end of an evening spent with friends in their Champaign home, David Gill allowed himself the luxury of thinking he might just get what he asked for.

"It's still a long shot, but now it seems within the realm of possibility," Gill said of his quest to dethrone U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, the two-term incumbent and former state representative who has yet to lose an election in 15 tries.

Sneak peek

Want to know who''ll advance from the Atlanta Regional? Who has no chance of winning their first-round game? Brett Dawson provides the scoop on this week''s action at four sites: