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Illinois basketball progress report

Progress report

For Lowery, it's about living in the moment

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Southern Illinois coaches and team managers came and went, but there were two mainstays in Room 20 of The Renaissance hotel late Thursday.

Game film of Holy Cross and candy.

Illini roundup: Poeta rebounds for third

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Illinois' Mike Poeta set high goals during his sophomore season.

He nearly accomplished the biggest: a national wrestling championship.

A look back at Illini's up-and-down season

BEST MOMENT (OFF THE COURT)

Selection Sunday

Zook adds to coaching staff

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois coach Ron Zook filled his staff vacancy Saturday by hiring Eastern Kentucky offensive coordinator Kurt Beathard. The longtime college offensive coordinator will work with the outside receivers, replacing departed Dino Dawson.

"I am very excited to have Kurt (Beathard) join out staff," Zook said. "He shares our offensive philosophy and is an excellent teacher. He will be a strong addition to our staff and I am looking forward to what he will bring to this offense."

Weber, Illini ready to put season in rearview mirror

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Bruce Weber said he fixed up the music situation at the Illinois basketball offices.

To soothe coaches' frayed nerves – "It's been a mental drain," he said – Weber chose a soothing theme.

Tate: Guenther discusses actions after criticism in online column

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The same bulldog tenacity that propelled Ron Guenther on the football field – a 200-pound guard, he succeeded Jim Grabowski and Dick Butkus as Illini MVP in 1966 – spilled over in an awkward place Friday night.

While the bulk of Illini Nation slammed their fists and cursed their TV sets, or at least considered the temptation, a frustrated Guenther was doing the same.

Poeta keeps chin up

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Illinois' Mike Poeta defeated Iowa State's Trent Paulson earlier this season, but when the match mattered most, Paulson emerged victorious.

Paulson defeated Poeta, a sophomore, 4-0 in their 157-pound semifinal Friday night at the NCAA Championships. Poeta trailed after Paulson scored a first-period takedown

Tate: Is hope on the horizon?

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Illini campaign marked by erratic shooting and distressing offensive shortcomings ended in disaster Friday night.

Ahead of Virginia Tech 52-42 with 4 1/2 minutes to go, Illinois was outscored 12-0 down the stretch and was ousted from the NCAA tournament 54-52.

Asmussen: Randle not deserving of all the blame

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Of course, it will get better. It just didn't seem that way to Brian Randle late Friday in the smallest locker room at Nationwide Arena.

The Illinois junior had one of those moments all players dread. Two missed free throws after an intentional foul. Then, a missed one-and-bonus with 4.9 seconds left that could have tied the game. A scramble underneath the basket and time ticking away with his team down two. The buzzer sounds and he looks around in disbelief.