Rally against Michigan a building block for Illinois

   CHAMPAIGN  It might have been the bleakest point of Illinois'' baseball season.

   Losers of seven of their first 11 Big Ten games and one day removed from a disheartening doubleheader loss to Michigan, the Illini trailed the Wolverines 9-2 just 3 ? innings into Sunday''s series finale at Illinois Field.

Illini go distance in tennis

   The Illinois women''s tennis team was down several times Sunday against second-place Wisconsin.

   But in the end, the Illini  on the strength of yet another come-from-behind victory from junior Michelle Webb  pulled out a 4-3 Big Ten victory at Atkins Tennis Center.

Hardy happy to have home

   When Kevin Hardy visited the Dallas Cowboys last week, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer took him into a room and flipped on some films from last season. Zimmer described all the ways he wanted to use Hardy as an outside linebacker whose main job is to rush the quarterback.

   The former Illini star liked the ideas so much that he was willing to sign a one-year deal with an option for four more that''s based mostly on if his surgically repaired right knee is strong enough for him to return to Pro Bowl form.

Kittner waiting for NFL´s call

   Kurt Kittner thought he wouldn''t sleep too well anyway Friday night, so he plans to be on the golf course bright and early Saturday before the Illinois football team''s spring game.

   Sometime around 11 a.m. Saturday morning, the Houston Texans will select Fresno State quarterback David Carr with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft while the other 260 choices watch and wait for their names to be called.

Illini Roundup: Young, Illinois burst to first

   Renata Young fired a 3-over-par second-round 75 to finish a career-best third and lead Illinois to first place Saturday in the Illini Spring Classic at Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana.

   Young, a junior, finished with a total score of 150, which is her best 36-hole effort and ranks eighth in school history for a 36-hole event. Young finished 2 strokes behind medalist Alison Hiller of Southern Illinois.

UI watches Michigan sweep Big Ten baseball doubleheader

   CHAMPAIGN  A crowd of 1,206 showed up Saturday at Illinois Field to take in Illinois'' baseball doubleheader against Michigan.

   Afterward, Illini coach Itch Jones had to wonder if that number included more than a few of his hitters. On a day when his team struck out 14 times, half occurred while Illini batters spectated on strike three.

Scrimmage doesn''t tell whole story

   Dustin Ward, Jon Beutjer and a corps of dazzling Illinois receivers had another productive scrimmage Saturday.

   Five touchdown passes did not include the spectacular tip catch by the irrepressible Brandon Lloyd.

UI Football Spring Notes: Quarterback contestants rating well

   CHAMPAIGN  The old quarterbacks stood on the sideline and watched the contenders. Three years ago, Kurt Kittner and Kirk Johnson were the ones trying to earn the Illinois starting job.

   On Saturday, it was Dustin Ward and Jon Beutjer. Like they have all spring, both played well in Saturday''s 75-minute scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.

UI signee an eye-opener

   LOUISVILLE, Ky.  Funny thing is, there was a time when nobody wanted Deron Williams.

   Oh, he was a fine player even at 14, an up-and-coming freshman at The Colony High School just outside Dallas, where he already was turning the heads of college coaches, including Bill Self, then at Tulsa.

Illini powered with positive thinking in win

   URBANA  The scoreboard showed Indiana with a 3-0 lead in Saturday''s Big Ten soft-ball game at Eichelberger Field.

   Two innings were in the books, and similar feelings existed in each dugout about which team would win.