>UI´s Bradford wants to make the ultimate impression

   CHICAGO  Cory Bradford cares how he''s remembered.

   He wants to go out a winner. He wants a national championship ring  or at least a Final Four trip  to complement his two Big Ten titles.

Illinois'' Yanni comfortable for first time since surgery

   CHAMPAIGN  March was just what Aminata Yanni needed.

   The sophomore guard, struggling to fully recover from last year''s knee injury, had her best stretch of play in months Thursday, collecting 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Illinois'' WNIT victory against Western Kentucky at the Assembly Hall.

Illini women clip, clear first hurdle

   CHAMPAIGN  If nothing else, the Illinois women''s basketball team exorcised a demon or two.

   After frittering away a bundle of leads in February, the Illini held on to one Thursday in the first round of the Women''s NIT, defeating Western Kentucky 91-84 in front of 1,072 at the Assembly Hall.

Delic leads shutout

   Amer Delic, ranked ninth nationally, defeated Louisville''s Cody Conley 6-3, 7-5 at No. 1 singles as eighth-ranked Illinois defeated the Cardinals 4-0 on Thursday at the Blue-Gray Tennis Classic in Montgomery, Ala.

UI women''s basketball box score

Illinois 91, Western Kentucky 84

Knight´s on the brink of pleasant

   CHICAGO  Charming. Funny. Polite.

   Maybe a year in west Texas has softened the Classic Bully. Or turned him into a Brian Dennehy-level actor.

Sights and sounds from Chicago

   Illinois fans didn''t turn out in force for Thursday''s afternoon shootaround (about 50 Illini fans attended), but they''re expected to take over the United Center today.

   For as long as the Illini are alive this weekend, they''re expected to be a heavy crowd favorite. But Illinois coach Bill Self stressed Thursday fans in the stands won''t have much impact in the games'' outcomes.

Salukis have major confidence in NCAA atmosphere

   CHICAGO  For all the hub-bub about Illinois'' homecourt advantage and Bob Knight''s return to the Midwest, the Southern Illinois Salukis would like you to know they have the most wins of any team playing this week at the United Center.

   They''ve knocked off Indiana, played Illinois to the wire and won five games against teams in the NCAA tournament. They''re also carrying the torch for the rest of the so-called midmajor programs when they face Knight''s Texas Tech team tonight.

First round often a horror show of upsets for No. 4 seeds

   Davidson, San Diego State, North Carolina-Wilmington, Valparaiso. Easy pickings, right?

   Not exactly. Just ask Bruce Parkhill.

UI first-round foe battles adversity

   CHAMPAIGN  Four months after she arrived at Western Kentucky as an assistant coach, Marti Whitmore is the Hilltoppers'' acting head coach.

   What has happened to the Western Kentucky women''s basketball program during that time could fill a notebook or three.