Illini open in the afternoon

The Lovie Smith era at Illinois will start with a 2:30 p.m. game Sept. 3 against Murray State.

BTN announced the kickoff times today for the first three weeks of broadcasts.

As previously announced, the Sept. 10 Illinois home game against North Carolina is set for 6:30 p.m. Like the opener, it will be broadcast by BTN.

June 16 prep sports chat

Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 12:30pm

When do the rest of the All-Area teams come out? Who are some high school athletes to keep an eye on next school year? What teams surprised preps coordinator Anthony Zilis the most this past school year? Zilis is chatting at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, but you can go ahead and ask questions ahead of time.

June 15 Illinois basketball chat

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 12:30pm

Summer workouts are slated to begin in full swing for the Illini. What are key points of emphasis for John Groce and his staff? How is recruiting going for the 2017 class? How are some of the injured players from this past season recovering? Beat writer Scott Richey is chatting away in his customary 12:30 p.m. time slot on Wednesday, so feel free to ask questions ahead of time.  

First and 10: Coaches on the hot seat

This week’s list: The college coaching carousel never stops, as Illinois is well aware. But the Illini won’t find Lovie Smith on any hot seat list this season. Here are 10 coaches who might want to update their resume, though:

Packed offseason according to Finke's plan

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign Central boys’ basketball coach Jeff Finke and his staff have just 25 contact days with their team this summer.

Most of them have to be crammed into the month of June with football taking over and the return of the summer session of AAU basketball in July.

Shortstop Walton signs with Arizona Diamondbacks

CHAMPAIGN — Not being selected in the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft didn’t stop Illinois baseball shortstop Adam Walton from pursuing his big league dreams.

The redshirt junior inked a free-agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, a day after the draft’s conclusion. The terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Four must-gets for Lovie in 2017

Lovie Smith’s first class won’t officially be complete until National Signing Day arrives in nearly eight months. But the first-year Illini coach had hundreds of high school prospects in Champaign on Sunday for two camps and received two verbal commitments.

Coaches' corner: Illinois' Brad Dancer

Each Monday for the next several weeks, we'll get to know some of the men and women who lead young athletes in our area. This week — Illinois men’s tennis coach Brad Dancer:

E.I. baseball: Dutchmasters sweep Swedes

PAXTON — Robb Wicks drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs for the Buckley Dutchmasters in their 3-2 victory Sunday over the Paxton Swedes, kicking off a doubleheader.

Wicks’ mood after the game — in which Buckley rallied from one-run deficits in both the eighth and ninth innings — was more remorseful than prideful.

Illinois adds two commits to Class of ’17

CHAMPAIGN — Sunday not only featured hundreds of high school prospects for Lovie Smith and his staff to evaluate at Memorial Stadium, but also two commitments from two in-state products.

Vederian Lowe, a 6-foot-5, 330-pound offensive tackle from Rockford Auburn, committed to the Illini, according to a tweet on Sunday evening from Rockford Auburn coach Dan Appino.