Illini have talent, incentive to end 52-year conference title drought

CHAMPAIGN – Mark Johnson didn''t need to look at Illinois'' wrestling schedule to find out the Big Ten season was right around the corner. His wife didn''t need to fix a note to the fridge.

Instead, the UI wrestling coach got his reminder straight from his team.

Tate: Illinois defense takes big bite out of Penn State

CHAMPAIGN – When it rains, it pours.

And Illinois, enjoying one of those special nights that no one can fully explain, drowned hapless Penn State 80-37 with a torrent of baskets and a thunderstorm defense.

Illini Insider

Jeff Huth''s weekly review and preview of Illinois sports:

Illinois men''s basketball box score

Illinois 80, Penn State 37

Randle reels in highlight

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois players likely made it a point to catch ESPN''s "SportsCenter" Wednesday night expecting to see Brian Randle hanging from the rim.

The freshman was responsible for the highlight of the game during the Illini''s 80-37 blowout win against Penn State on Wednesday night at the Assembly Hall.

Top-ranked Illinois reloaded and ready

CHAMPAIGN – Save your sympathy. Craig Tiley doesn''t need it.

So what if the Illinois tennis coach begins the dual match season this weekend minus the top two players from last season''s undefeated national champs? Tiley''s doing just fine, thanks.

Illini deliver a heavy hit with a smile

CHAMPAIGN – Slowly, Bruce Weber is coming to terms with what he has.

The Illinois basketball coach is a throwback, an old-school guy from the Gene Keady school of basketball business. This is serious stuff.

That''s what the UI women must do to store up momentum

CHAMPAIGN – Cindy Dallas is convinced the Illinois women''s basketball team is a good one. Now she''d like the Illini to possess the credentials to back up her assessment.

The Illini host Indiana tonight in an attempt to avoid their first five-game losing streak since 1995.

Southern hospitality

While on their tour of South Africa, members of Craig Tiley''s NCAA championship men''s tennis team checked in periodically. Here''s the last report, courtesy of Brian Wilson:

Two Illini first in nation

Two Illinois men''s gymnasts are ranked first in the nation in their events. Ben Newman has compiled the highest season scoring average in the pommel horse (9.725), and Justin Spring is No. 1 in floor exercise (9.537).