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HQ prediction: Illini, 82-72

Illinois is making the transition from preparing for Wisconsin's swing offense to Northwestern's modified Princeton offense. It's a process. "If you came to practice (Tuesday), it's a debacle," Weber said.


Leshoure, Zook talking NFL

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois junior tailback Mikel Leshoure was scheduled to talk to Ron Zook by early today to discuss his NFL draft decision.

Underclassmen like Leshoure have until Jan. 15 to make a decision. Players aren't allowed to enter the draft until three years after their high school careers ended.


Wednesday's prep highlights: Maroons swimmers sparkle

CHAMPAIGN – Led by a trio of juniors, the Champaign Central swimming and diving team claimed a 113-72 win against rival Centennial on Wednesday at Unit 4 Pool.

Sam Stewart (200-yard individual medley, 500 freestyle), Blake Lehmann (50, 100 freestyles) and Joe Faulin (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke) each claimed two individual wins.


Kroner: Ex-area players adjust to life on sidelines

A few years ago, basketball was something Nick Catlett, Eric Free, Alison Vogel and Emily Williams did for fun.

Now, it has become a job.

There are no complaints from the former area athletes. It means they are now being paid to continue their association with a sport they cherish.


Another honor for Mike Small

Congratulations to Danville native and UI golf coach Mike Small (above), who on Wednesday was named 2010 PGA Professional of the Year.


5 O'Clock Shadow

News you can't leave work without:

Illinois on Wednesday announced it will no longer charge admission for home games involving the wrestling, gymnastics, track, baseball, softball and soccer teams.


Tate: No end to Wildcats' woes

Just when folks in Evanston caught a glimpse of sunshine, a persistent cloud keeps dripping on Northwestern's long-suffering basketball program.

The Wildcats, you see, never have won an NCAA tournament game. In fact, they've never even participated. Imagine all the fun and excitement of 72 tournaments – some call it the most engaging three weeks in sports – and the big boys would never let you play.


The latest from Bruce Weber

Paul Klee is at Bruce Weber's news conference. Get updates here

Then ask Paul Klee a question by clicking here. His chat starts at 12:30 p.m.

 


Rodriguez fired (we mean it this time)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has been fired.
The school confirmed Wednesday that Rodriguez had been let go after going 15-22 in three years at Michigan and a handful of NCAA violations that have stained the once-proud program. The school can buy out the final three years of his contract for $2.5 million.


Judson: It was a special season

The 2000-01 team that Nate Mast so eloquently revisited on the previous page had the perfect blend: lots of basketball talent (three McDonald's All-Americans, three Illinois Mr. Basketballs) and lots of basketball smarts (four future college coaches).

Rob Judson, a likable assistant on that memorable team, is glad that second group didn't grow to five.