'Immaturity' has Illinois on its knees

CHAMPAIGN – From a courtside seat, one of the high school prospects who might help lead Illinois back to national relevance teased a future that appears bright.

But Crandall Head, a Rich South sophomore who lists the UI as the leader in his recruitment, wouldn't be on campus for good until 2010 if he does, in fact, commit to Illinois. Others, like UI recruits Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson and Joseph Bertrand, can't lend saving grace until 2009.

Second-half surge propels Storm

BISMARCK – The Salt Fork Storm might want to jot down whatever was said by first-year coach Aaron Hird during halftime of Saturday night's Hayden's Athletic Classic championship game and save it for a later date.

The Storm trailed by 10 points at intermission after watching Bismarck-Henning net 11 of 16 field goal attempts in the first half and looked out of sync at both ends of the floor. A change in defensive strategy and a spirited talk from Hird helped change that.

Balance tips game for Sages

MONTICELLO – Lindsey Cresap figured prominently in Monticello's defensive plans in Saturday's championship game at the Monticello Holiday Tournament.

"Our game plan was to stop (Tuscola's Kelsi) Hoey," the Sages guard said. "I played her man-to-man while my four teammates played zone."

Monticello right on target

MONTICELLO – Accurate free throw shooting appears to be a lost art among many high school and college basketball players.

That wasn't the case, however, for Monticello on Saturday as the Sages converted 12 of 14 to stave off Tuscola 47-46 in the boys' championship game at the Holiday Tournament.

On the scene

He's no Perez Hilton, but our resident gossip columnist offers his report on the sights and sounds from California:

First and 10

Sports editor Jim Rossow's take on the Rose Bowl:

Tracking the Trojans

Marcus Jackson's report from Saturday:

Eye on the Illini

Bob Asmussen's report from Saturday:

Tate: This tradition is more than just football

LOS ANGELES – There are lots of auto races, but only one Indianapolis 500. There are golf tournaments, but none quite like the Masters. Nothing in horse racing approaches the Kentucky Derby.

Each is an American institution based on tradition and perception. And so it is with the Rose Bowl. The other 31 bowl games grew up as copies. So strong is the influence and acceptance of this Jan. 1 game in Pasadena that a widely desired and wildly preferred football playoff can't get traction.

Well-traveled Musburger has simple message: Stay in school

Sports fans ages 35 and older remember Brent Musburger from his days announcing professional sports, mostly through his association with the NFL and the NBA.

But if you're looking for an advocate for college living and the importance it holds in a person's life, look no further than the veteran announcer who will call Tuesday's Rose Bowl on ABC.