Illinois football looks different to ''01 Badgers

   CHAMPAIGN - When they walk out onto the Memorial Stadium field today for the first time since 1998, the Wisconsin football players will do a double-take.

   What happened to the old Illinois team, the scrawny, slow bunch? they''ll say. Who are these guys?

IHSA pairings must-see TV for area fans

   High school football fans might want to save some television time 7-9 p.m. Saturday.

    The IHSA will unveil the football playoff brackets on its own network, which includes cable systems across the state.

Rolling the bowl dice

   The mission statement at the top of the board reads "Big Ten Champions." But Illinois can reach a simpler goal Saturday: Bowl eligibility.

   Beat Wisconsin, and the Illini are in with four games to go. Destination to be determined.

Trudeau pulling for Kittner to break record, help team to bowl bid

When John Trudeau was learning to read, he branched out from "Dr. Seuss" and "Winnie The Pooh."

While standing on the sidelines at an Illinois game, the toddler paged through an Illini football program and noticed his dad''s name atop various passing records set in the 1980s.

Illinois Football Practice Report

   He already has played against Minnesota''s Ron Johnson and Michigan''s Marquise Walker. On Saturday, Illinois cornerback Eugene Wilson will try to stop Wisconsin''s Lee Evans, the Big Ten''s leading receiver.

   I look at it as an opportunity, Wilson said. When you''ve got a receiver that''s coming in with big numbers, obviously he''s getting the ball. They''re going to throw him some balls. Hopefully, I''m on him when they throw those balls.

Pitcher convinced by coach, Illini''s potential

   WILMETTE - Jake Toohey has a considerable wait before he can play at Illinois Field, but the Illini''s latest baseball recruit might take the field this fall at another campus venue.

   Toohey is the starting quarterback for Loyola Academy''s 7-1 football team. And after the Ramblers knocked off defending state 5A champion Chicago Mount Carmel last weekend, Toohey and his teammates have their sights set on reaching the state finals at the UI''s Memorial Stadium.

Illinois Men''s Basketball Practice Report

   The public has been closed out of Illinois practices early, but fans will get a chance Saturday to glance the Illini.

   The Illini will scrimmage for about an hour Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. They''ll practice for an hour before, and fans are invited to show up anytime after 8:30 a.m.

Illinois finds all-star teams hard to crack

   Kurt Kittner and Brandon Lloyd will lead Illinois against Wisconsin in Saturday''s homecoming showdown.

   They are the most recognizable members of the team, the leaders. They''re always in the fans'' cross hairs. When Kittner misses an open receiver, it''s Oh, my, what''s wrong? When Lloyd catches seven or eight passes, that''s considered normal.

Illinois, center mingle

   PHILADELPHIA - Keith Butler is working to put the past year behind him.

   The future ahead of him is worth looking forward to.

Illini using blocks to build volleyball momentum

   CHAMPAIGN - Go ahead. Just try to knock Illinois'' block off.

   Indiana was the latest opponent to take the dare and challenge Lisa Argabright and her shot-smothering cohorts. The result was barrage of point-producing deflections that was extraordinary even by the Illini''s lofty standards.