Each day he's in Austin covering the Illini, beat writer Marcus Jackson will check in:
Howdy from chilly Austin, where the high temperature today was 73 degrees. Seriously, it was 90 degrees earlier this week, so the 17-degree drop is considered a cold snap in this part of the country.
Just because you get out of prison doesn’t mean life will be a bowl of cherries.
And just because seven Big Ten toughies are free of conference shackles doesn’t mean the baskets will come easy. Kansas and Miami play defense, too.
With seven teams in the field — and six seeded seventh or better – the Big Ten has a chance to set the league’s all-time record for wins (15) in an NCAA tournament. A look at the five top performances in terms of wins:
AUSTIN, Texas — The Illinois roster doesn’t have much NCAA tournament experience.
Seniors Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson were regulars in the Illinois rotation when the Illini beat UNLV and then lost to Kansas in the 2011 tournament in Tulsa, Okla. Tyler Griffey and Joseph Bertrand, Illinois’ other scholarship players who were on the roster in 2011, played a total of four minutes.
For Illinois, of course. But in case John Groce's team fizzles out early, here's who we recommend cheering for from best to worst in this year's NCAA tournament:
1. St. Louis
President Obama has Illinois beating Colorado before losing to Miami on Sunday in Austin, Texas.
The Prez, as he does every year, filled out a bracket for ESPN. Check it out here.
About the Illini, Obama said: "It'a tough to pick against my home state, but Miami looks good this year."
Nathaniel Sokolski’s Texas tour
Do the Illini have a chance? Is Indiana a lock as a No. 1 seed? Can Butler make another run? Here’s staff writer MARCUS JACKSON’s team-by-team take on the East Region:
They’re the No. 1 seed because ... the Hoosiers won the outright title in the best conference in America, going 15-5, and spent 10 weeks atop the polls.
By MARCUS JACKSON
In 2012, Colorado made the NCAA tournament for the first time in nine years. The 11th-seeded Buffaloes had plenty of incentive in coach Tad Boyle’s second season.
“I know people didn’t think we were going to be able to compete,” guard Spencer Dinwiddie said. “Then we beat UNLV, a highly respected team.”
By JEFF HUTH
When you grow up in Montreal, as Sheldon Jacobson did, it almost goes without saying that you root for the Canadiens.
It was Jacobson’s good fortune to come of age as a hockey fan in the 1970s, when the iconic NHL franchise won six Stanley Cups during the decade.
“Kind of like living in heaven,” Jacobson said.