MADISON, Wis. – Bruce Weber has seen Nick Smith''s temper flare up before, and he''s let it slide.
On Saturday, he took a stand and gave Smith a seat.
When the media cast votes in The Associated Press poll last weekend, Wisconsin checked in at No. 21.
That designation alone makes the Badgers worthy of special consideration this afternoon, even if they hadn''t won 19 consecutive Big Ten home games under third-year coach Bo Ryan.
His conference took a beating during the nonconference schedule and has been mauled even worse by the national media. But Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is not worried. Delaney, who has guided the conference since 1989, has seen these cycles before. Here are his thoughts on several questions facing the Big Ten.
CHAMPAIGN – Illinois'' Jon Beutjer will return for a sixth season, but he''s not guaranteed to be the starting quarterback this time around.
Beutjer was granted a sixth season Friday by the NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee. He applied for an extension after missing the final five games of the 2003 season with a herniated disk in his back.
Redshirt freshman Michael Martin set the tone for second-ranked Illinois, pinning Penn State''s DeWitt Driscoll on Friday night in State College, Pa.
Driscoll, ranked 19th, led Martin 6-3 before the Illini 141-pounder rallied in the third period to force overtime tied at 8. In the extra period, Martin took Driscoll down for the fall in 7:23.
MADISON, Wis. – The names roll off Bruce Weber''s tongue like he''s some trivia contestant.
Clarence Sherrod. The Hughes brothers, Kerry and Kim.
CHAMPAIGN – If slumping Illinois is to salvage what remains of the women''s basketball season, it will have to find the necessary resources from within.
Indiana stunned the Illini 63-56 on Thursday at the Assembly Hall, sending Illinois to its fifth straight defeat. Not since the 1992-93 season has Illinois encountered a rougher stretch.
CHAMPAIGN – The loss of Aminata Yanni has had a dramatic effect on the Illinois attack in several ways. But perhaps most important, it has further thinned an already-thin bench.
Illinois'' loss to Indiana on Thursday raised more questions about the UI''s reserves, which have gained more playing opportunities in recent games. But against the Hoosiers, the Illini bench couldn''t make an impact.
The Illinois football program received its 23rd known oral commitment this week, but it''s anything but firm.
Josh Hargis, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound cornerback, has committed to play for Ron Turner''s team, Palomar (Calif.) Junior College football coach Joe Early said Thursday.