We won''t forget it anytime soon, this most miraculous of college basketball seasons.
It gave us great games, including – but hardly limited to – a national championship game that gave us a true rarity, a Monday night meeting between the nation''s top two teams. One that lived up to the hype, no less.
MINNEAPOLIS – Winning a share of a ninth consecutive Big Ten men''s tennis title certainly is cause for celebration, but Illinois coach Craig Tiley kept it simple Saturday night.
"They''re watching a movie in the van," Tiley said after his team beat Minnesota 4-3 to earn a share of the league title. The Illini can win outright at Iowa today.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Not even the cold and miserable conditions Saturday could keep the action from being hot in the Illinois baseball team''s doubleheader split against Indiana.
Illinois took the first game 4-3 in dramatic fashion when sophomore designated hitter Mike Rohde hit a two-out grand slam in the top of the seventh inning. Illinois dropped the second game in heartbreaking fashion, 14-13.
CHAMPAIGN – The list of Ed Zaunbrecher quarterbacks is impressive. Current NFL starters Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich and Rex Grossman and Florida''s Chris Leak all were trained by the new Illinois quarterback coach.
Tim Brasic wants to join the list. The Illinois sophomore moved toward it in Saturday''s spring game, completing 18 of 27 passes for 195 yards in the White team''s 33-16 win against the Blue.
My tenure as Illini wrestling coach was relatively short, but no one in the program''s history won more Big Ten titles. From 1920 to 1928, my teams were conference champions seven times. Five of those titles were consecutive, starting in 1924. I also won 42 of 47 dual meets during my UI coaching career for the highest winning percentage (.894) in school history. Six of my nine Illini teams went undefeated.
CHICAGO – Kelvin Hayden became the first Illinois player taken in the 2005 NFL draft on Saturday night, but he never had to make an announcement to the family and friends that joined him in his Chicago home.
"I had gotten the phone call and they heard me talking," Hayden said. "Everybody heard my phone ring, and once I started smiling and saying ''Thank you,'' they started screaming. I had to walk out of the room to hear."
Luis Maya was set to enlist in the Marines. He saw the military as his best chance to provide a better life for his mother and move her out of Champaign. When he didn't pass his military tests, he thought his options had run out. But just as a door was closing, another unexpected one opened.
"Victor Mullins came to the school, and there was a large group of juniors and seniors," Maya said. "He talked about two programs and said there were certain spots available."
URBANA – New Chancellor Richard Herman was enjoying his day, for sure.
A few hours after he was named the leader of the University of Illinois' Urbana campus Tuesday, Herman was being congratulated by colleagues, including Crafoord Prize-winning microbiologist Carl Woese, while a gift bottle of champagne sat on his desk.