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Illinois athletics

Illini ace Drake

Illinois'' softball team got dominant pitching from Sherri Taylor, pushing her scoreless streak to 14 innings, and Amanda Fortune as the Illini swept a home doubleheader against Drake, winning 1-0 and 2-0.

Illini success is contagious

With students on spring break, campus has been quiet this week. But even without much foot traffic, Cory Shumard and the folks at Gameday Sports are keeping busy.

Gameday Sports sells Illinois merchandise and is the concessionaire for the athletic department. Thanks to the Illini basketball team''s run to the Sweet 16 and its conference championship, Internet sales are brisk.

Dixieland delight

So you were lucky to get tickets to watch Illinois/Duke on Friday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Mezydlo will be there, too, on the company dime. Here''s his guide to hanging out this weekend in Atlanta. If you''re not impressed, find him in Buckhead and let him know about it:

Rossow: What''s a Krzyzewski? Not a homebuyer in Mahomet

MAHOMET – Went looking for Coach K''s place Wednesday. - You know, the one he bought in Mahomet when Illinois was looking for a basketball coach to succeed Lou Henson. Then Lon Kruger. Then Bill Self.

Seemed like a good time to do it, what with Illinois taking on Duke on Friday. Just didn''t have much luck. Ran into a river, some road construction, an empty high school and a lot of friendly people.

In guards we trust. That''s Illinois'' motto - especially for the NCAA tournament

CHAMPAIGN – They share a backcourt and an apartment and an affinity for bowling, and sometimes you wonder if Dee Brown and Deron Williams don''t just get sick of one another.

Surely, there''s some jealousy. Surely, familiarity breeds occasional contempt.

UI Roundup: UI tennis rips host Gators

Illinois'' men''s tennis team remained No. 1 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association''s rankings.

The Illini, who defeated ninth-ranked Florida 6-1 on Tuesday in Gainesville, Fla., maintained their edge in the poll against second-ranked Baylor and third-ranked Southern California.

Weber looking for more

CHAMPAIGN – The last time Bruce Weber visited the Sweet 16, he felt like a party crasher.

The year was 2002, and Weber had guided Southern Illinois to a Sweet 16 meeting against Connecticut at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

Tate: Duke''s a well-known foe for Illini

"Who are those guys?" outlaws Butch and Sundance wondered as the posse closed in.

And we''d be wondering the same thing if Illinois were paired against Xavier or UAB on Friday. Or Nevada. It would be a mystery.

Illini''s Brown bags honor

Dee Brown didn''t have the season some expected.

That didn''t keep him from a postseason honor.

UI gymnasts earn invite

The Illinois men''s basketball team isn''t the only squad heading to a regional soon. The UI women''s gymnastics team, led by coach Bob Starkell, earned a bid to the South Central Regional in Tucson, Ariz.

The invitation to the April 3 event, which was announced Monday, is the first under Starkell, who is in his fifth season at the school.