Top of the Morning, Dec. 26, 2017

Top of the Morning, Dec. 26, 2017

Continuing our look back at the most-viewed things on our website by pageviews in 2017 (last week's installment focused on photo galleries, while the first installment looked at videos), we're turning to the second-most-viewed area of the site — sports.

Things get a bit tricky here with measuring, as some stories appeared on both IlliniHQ and our homepage. For the purposes of this series, we'll count them as sports stories and exclude them from next week's list.

Through the Dec. 23, you've clicked on our sports stories and sections a whopping 7.8 million times. As far as the top 10's concerned, it's easy to tell which of the UI's two biggest sports you're more interested in: Men's basketball, which began its first season with BRAD UNDERWOOD at the helm, checks in with seven entries. The rest are prep-sports related; the 2017 Illini football team didn't show up until No. 31, and that was about former quarterback WES LUNT signing with the Vikings during the 2017 NFL Draft.

The No. 1 most-viewed sports story of 2017 was one of the hybrids I mentioned earlier — staff writer JULIE WURTH's Aug. 14 article about the UI's decision to use the athletics department's orange block "I" (top right) as its sole logo in an effort to unify its branding.

Not very far behind, though, was one that shouldn't be a surprise: SCOTT RICHEY's April 5 story about basketball prospect JEREMIAH TILMON's request to be released from his commitment to the Illini, after which he signed with Braggin' Rights rival Missouri.

Rounding out the top 10 were Richey's look at who might replace JOHN GROCE before Underwood was hired; a couple takes from LOREN TATE on Underwood's first season; the successful recruitment of guard MARK SMITH; the Sept. 3 shooting death of former Centennial quarterback MEIKO LOCKSLEY in Columbia, Md.; and now-preps-coordinator COLIN LIKAS' story about former Tuscola standout athlete NICK BATES' injury in a May 7 baseball game.

Here's the full top 10 list:

Top 10 sports stories on news-gazette.com in 2017, by pageview

1. UI makes logo change official

2. Tilmon requests release from Illinois

3. Tate: Likely addition of Smith welcome sight for Illini

4. Recruitment heating up for Smith

5. Former Centennial quarterback shot, killed

6. Underwood: 'We don't have to beg anybody to come here'

7. UPDATE: Ex-Tuscola star needs 'healing time'

8. Tate: Time for Underwood to play recruiting game

9. LIVE! Decision Day: Mark Smith

10. UI men's basketball: Who's next?

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