Young flies high in hoop debut

   CHAMPAIGN  The crowd asked for him. Bill Self obliged. Then Walter Young missed his chance to bring the house down.

   The Illinois standout receiver left a lasting impression in his college basketball debut Wednesday in the Illini''s 80-48 shelling of Wisconsin at the Assembly Hall.

Ex-Illini Griffith calls it quits

   DENVER  Former Illini Howard Griffith, an outstanding blocking fullback for the Denver Broncos, told the team he''s retiring after missing the 2001 season with a pinched nerve in his neck.

   Griffith, whose retirement was announced Wednesday by the Broncos, spent 11 years in the NFL and played on Denver''s Super Bowl championship teams in 1997 and 1998.

Illinois men''s basketball box score

Illinois 80, Wisconsin 48

Baseball: Girardi headline event

Illinois baseball

   Girardi headlines event. Chicago Cubs All-Star catcher Joe Girardi will be the guest speaker Feb. 2 at the Illinois Baseball Hot Stove Banquet at the Laborers Hall in Urbana.

Tate: Tradition says UI has advantage

   College coaches like to emphasize that past experiences don''t impact today''s games. These are, after all, different players and different circumstances.

   But history tells a relentless story. And the Illini have no traditional Big Ten series with home-road extremes to match that of tonight''s foe, Wisconsin.

Illinois keeping poker face, but big hands ahead

   CHAMPAIGN  There''s no older cliche in sport than taking it one game at a time.

   Players say it. Coaches say it. And they mean it.

Illini learning how to share with return of two starters

   CHAMPAIGN  Blandon Ferguson started noticing the change last week.

   Layup lines were longer, shooting drills more crowded. Substitutions started coming sooner.

Tate: UI appears to be seizing the moment

   Just wondering... Will Big Ten championships in basketball and football favorably impact future Illini teams in those critical revenue sports?

   Coach Ron Turner, who has a stout nucleus returning, states emphatically he has attracted recruits who would have been beyond reach in the past. Of course, there has never been an Illini recruiting class that wasn''t deemed superior to the previous one. But in this case, that appears to be accurate.

Kittner back to school

   MISSION VIEJO, Calif.  In the old days  before ESPN, Mel Kiper Jr. and two days of television coverage  NFL draft prospects would finish their spring semesters in college and wait for the phone to ring.

   Not anymore. Any player hoping for an NFL career spends months getting ready for the draft. And months afterward preparing for training camp.

UI women''s basketball box score

Illinois 87, Northwestern 73