Illini senior breaks mark

   Two-time All-American Jessica Aveyard broke Illinois'' school record in the 500 freestyle, clocking 4 minutes, 47.71 seconds Thursday at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.

   Aveyard''s mark topped Liz Grant''s 4:49.62, which was recorded Feb. 20, 1987. Aveyard, a senior, did not qualify for the finals, finishing 23rd.

Sights and sounds from Madison

   To the rest of the folks at the Kohl Center, the players looked like power forwards and point guards. To Barry Alvarez, they looked like tight ends and tailbacks.

Scouting report

   The News-Gazette asked Valparaiso coach Homer Drew to give us the strengths and weaknesses of Kansas. The Crusaders lost a close game to the Jayhawks earlier this season at Lawrence. Here are his thoughts:

Forget the seedings: N-G staffer Tony Bleill handicaps the Men''s Sweet 16

   1. Kansas

   A year ago, the tag on the Jayhawks was that they were soft. At least against Illinois, it was true. To offset that, Roy Williams decided to make his team play even faster, and few folks have slowed them. Kansas scores from every spot on the floor, and Drew Gooden and Nick Collison are better players than last season. If the Jayhawks can continue to score in transition, they''re Atlanta-bound. This Kansas team is much better than the 2001 squad.

Self seeking ingredients for permanent success

   They''re the gold standard of NCAA men''s basketball. They routinely reach the Sweet 16. Often appear in the Elite Eight. Are expected to contend each year for the Final Four. Have a national title or two to their credit during the past 15 years.

   You know the roll call: Duke. Kentucky. Kansas. Arizona. Michigan State. UCLA. And  this year''s collapse not withstanding  North Carolina.

Forget the seedings: Tony Bleill handicaps the women''s Sweet 16

   1. Connecticut

   What, you expected BYU? When four of your players are accorded All-America status, you know you''re the favorite. Heavy, heavy favorite. Oklahoma is the only team with the guard play to handle UConn''s pressure and thereby give the Huskies a decent run for their money.

Illini Insider

   News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth´s weekly review and preview of Illinois sports:

Illini by the numbers

   A numerical look at the Illini and the NCAA tournament:

There´s more to Kansas than hoops

   News-Gazette Staff Writer

   Everyone knows about Wilt Chamberlain''s prowess on and off a basketball court, most remember Danny Manning and Larry Brown winning a national championship and a few hoops junkies might even know Lynette Woodard was the first woman Harlem Globetrotter. But there''s more to Kansas than basketball. Well, maybe not. But we''ll try to find something for everyone with 10 things every Illinois fan needs to know about the Jayhawks.

Flip attitude not for Lockhart

   ALBANY, N.Y.  It''s been dubbed the coin-flip weight class, and that''s no mere flippant description.

   Just ask John Lockhart. The Illinois heavyweight''s good fortune with coin flips at last year''s NCAA wrestling tournament was like money in the bank for the reigning national champion.