Former Illini happy to pass torch

CHAMPAIGN – Dee Brown and Deron Williams are, without dispute, among the best and most productive guard tandems in Illinois basketball history.

But even put together, they have some work to do to catch Bruce Douglas.

Rossow: Upon further review

Sports Editor Jim Rossow''s take on Saturday''s contest:

A weekly chat with Bob Asmussen

This week''s guest: running back Pierre Thomas.

Beutjer shows Turner he''s got what it takes

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois coach Ron Turner didn''t wait until today to pick his starting quarterback.

After Friday''s 45-minute walkthrough, Turner said Jon Beutjer gets the call against Michigan.

Tate: Obstacles higher than ever

An 18-year-old UI freshman in 1958 today would be filling out Social Security paperwork as a 64-year-old senior citizen.

And in his entire adult life, he would have rejoiced in a single Memorial Stadium football victory against Michigan, that a 16-6 triumph by Mike White''s champions in 1983. It''s not a lifetime wasted, but it''s close.

As Weber''s second year gets under way, Illini eager to listen

CHAMPAIGN – Shortly after his team lost to Purdue and Northwestern in January, in the throes of a season spinning suddenly out of control, Bruce Weber told his players to glance up at the banners gracing the rafters of the Ubben Basketball Complex.

Specifically, he said, look at the 1984 and 1998 Big Ten championship banners.

Illini top Iowa in tuneup

Illinois, which got a career-high 19 kills from Jen Hynds, beat host Iowa 30-19, 30-22, 30-16 heading into today''s matchup with No. 2 Minnesota.

Hynds, who also registered a team-high five blocks, had nine kills in Game 3 to lead the No. 23 Illini on Friday night.

Able Michigan, ailiing Illini on different paths

CHAMPAIGN – Physically, the uniforms are roughly the same. Helmets, pads, shoes, a shade of blue.

What the uniforms represent is totally different.

Asmussen: Today''s the time to gamble

All coaches would like to thank that prankster at Michigan State, John L. Smith. Not content with conventional throws and runs, Smith has a notepad full of trick plays.

He trotted one out last Saturday against Illinois. Twice. Have the quarterback give the ball to a receiver, then run toward the end zone. If it works the way Smith hopes, and it did against Illinois, the open quarterback will catch an easy touchdown pass.

Catching up with ... Jim Klein

From 1984-98, Illinois beat Michigan once in football. It wouldn''t have happened without Jim Klein. The receiver caught Johnny Johnson''s 15-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds left, giving the Illini a 24-21 win and sending Champaign-Urbana into a full-scale celebration.