Each day the Illini are in Austin, beat writer Marcus Jackson will check in:
I promise I won’t go on and on about the weather today. Truth is, I didn’t get to enjoy it much. I spent all day — OK, 11 hours — inside Texas’ Frank Erwin Center for open practices and media availability.
I had to wear a sweatshirt because it was chilly inside the building.
Close to 300 members of the media took part in Thursday’s session involving the eight teams at the Austin site, taking advantage of news conferences, open locker rooms and public practices.
The Illinois players, most of them first-timers at the NCAAs, seemed to enjoy themselves.
I did hear a commercial on the radio for Vince Young’s Steakhouse. The former Longhorns quarterback apparently has a place that produces a fantastic steak. Just don’t flash the “Hook ‘em Horns” sign upside down — he’ll beat you up.
That’s where the Illini had dinner Wednesday night. Brandon Paul said the former NFL Rookie of the Year was in the house. Hopefully he wasn’t giving financial advice.
Ed Bond and Steve Kelly made dinner reservations at Vince Young’s place Thursday night. I’m not sure how Bond had any more room for food.
The Illini Sports Network radio engineer set an NCAA tournament media day record for most popcorn consumed. He crushes that stuff at every arena.
Oh, yeah, there was a bat inside the arena. An Erwin Center worker was in the top row of the arena with an oversized net trying to catch the flying rodent.
Friday’s the big day here, with four games starting at 1 p.m. I think the Illini are ready.
I need some sleep.