Anthem singer proves to be good luck for Illini — again

Anthem singer proves to be good luck for Illini — again

CHAMPAIGN — The crisp white shirt he wore under his blue blazer was the very same one Daniel Borup had on last season, when his rousing rendition of the national anthem started the night right for a full house of Illini fans.

Borup, being the superstitious sort, wanted to wear the same tie Tuesday for Indiana-Illinois, the rematch, but that wasn't an option.

"I hung the tie up as a souvenir," said Borup, an Urbana Uni High grad and last year's Illini Pride president.

It's a new season and the building goes by a new name, but Borup was back Tuesday — and so was the magic that followed.

In front of its first sellout crowd of the season, Illinois beat its bitter rival 83-80 — in overtime, no less, about the only thing last year's instant classic didn't have.

Borup just so happened to be home for the holidays from Stanford, where he's in his first year as a mechanical engineering grad student.

It was just his luck that Illinois' first home New Year's Eve game in 31 years was against the hated Hoosiers.

"I guess they did a good job setting up the schedule for me," Borup said.

After Tuesday's anthem, Borup received a loud applause from the State Farm Center crowd — and a spirited fist bump from Illinois coach John Groce.

"Wish I was around to do it more often!" he tweeted Tuesday night.