Illinois to turn off Sheppard's mic

CHAMPAIGN – Jim Sheppard, the longtime public address announcer for Illinois men's basketball games, will not return next season.

Sheppard said he was told by Division of Intercollegiate Athletic officials he will be replaced after the 2006-07 season, his 22nd behind the mic. Sheppard, 58, said he's been told he will call football games in the fall.

College basketball insider

News-Gazette beat writer Paul Klee's weekly look at the best game in the world:

Former Illini in the NFL

Here's how ex-Illini players and coaches fared in this weekend's NFL games:

Illinois lets opportunity slip away

MINNEAPOLIS – Illinois rallied to win its Big Ten women's basketball opener.

On Sunday, the Illini experienced the frustration of blowing a lead.

UI women's basketball game preview

Here's a look at today's UI women's basketball game at Minnesota:

Title doesn't satisfy Poeta

EVANSTON – Illinois' run of titles at the Midlands Championships ended Saturday. But Mike Poeta made sure the Illini didn't leave empty handed.

Poeta upset top-seeded and top-ranked Trent Paulson of Iowa State 9-8 to win the 157-pound title Saturday. He was the lone winner for the three-time defending champs, who placed sixth.

Klee: Let the games begin

A glance around the league in order of how we think the Big Ten will play out this season:

Tate: No bowl, no problem

CHAMPAIGN – Ever since Michigan and the late Bo Schembechler pressured the Big Ten to loosen its strict, one-team bowl policy, it has been assumed that postseason participation is essential for long-term football success.

And that is true in almost all cases.

Illini sixth at Midlands

EVANSTON – Illinois wrestler Mike Poeta (157) remained undefeated and earned a trip to the semifinals of the Midlands Championships on Friday as the Illini finished Day 1 in sixth place as a team.

Jimmy Kennedy (133) and Roger Smith-Bergsrud (165) also reached today's semifinal matches.

Ugly loss leaves Weber steamed

CINCINNATI – As he closed practice earlier this week, Bruce Weber was asked how it went. Good practice? Bad practice?

Weber shook his head and rolled his eyes. No, not a good practice. Not enough healthy bodies, not enough listening ears. Just like most of Illinois' practice sessions this season. Inconsistent, incomplete, and indicative of how the Illini played in a 65-59 loss to Xavier late Friday night before 13,256 fans at U.S. Bank Arena.