Bubble babble

Three weeks from today, the NCAA tournament selection committee will announce its field of 65. This year, it seems there are more teams than ever on the bubble. Here's a look at 65 of them — some obvious, some off the wall — courtesy of contributor Dan Petty:

(Familiar) faces in the crowd

An All-Star checkup on how former area players are faring in the NBA:

Asmussen: A change for the better

After the disappointing loss, one that should have had him slamming his fist into the turf, Daries Hodge turned sportsman.

His favored Harrisburg (Pa.) High School team had lost a Pennsylvania playoff game to rival Bishop McDevitt. While his devastated teammates sank to the ground, the Illinois signee went from Bishop McDevitt player to player, shaking hands and offering congratulations. Along with a "you were the better team."

Ten questions for Brian Cardinal

Brian Cardinal finally has found someone as scrappy as himself: 3-month-old Bryson Cardinal. While the NBA's finest went to Las Vegas for this weekend's All-Star activities, the former Purdue great and current Grizzlies veteran went home to Indiana to spend time with wife Danielle and their newborn son. The pride of Tolono, 29, who's averaging 4.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 28 games this season, discussed NBA life, fatherhood and Purdue's resurgence under Matt Painter with sports editor Jim Rossow:

As the Illinois basketball bounces

The latest stemming from Monday night's accident involving Illinois basketball players Jamar Smith and Brian Carlwell:

Big Ten basketball preview

Looking at the bright side, Illinois has responded well to key suspensions in the Bruce Weber era. When Luther Head missed four games in the 2003-04 season, the Illini went 3-1.

Tate: It didn't have to end this way

CHAMPAIGN – The Chief is dead! Long live the Chief!

After Wednesday's dance at halftime of the UI-Michigan men's basketball game, Chief Illiniwek will become invisible. The backup Chief won't perform his customary dance at the last two women's games, and the Marching Illini will play the "Three-In-One" without the Chief next fall.

Gonzales seals first-round win

CHICAGO – For the sixth consecutive year, Illinois has reached the quarterfinals at the USTA/ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships.

The host Illini beat No. 9 Oklahoma State 4-2 when Ruben Gonzales clinched the match with a dramatic 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (5) win against Dmytro Petrov. It was No. 6 Illinois' fifth win against a Top 20 team this season.

Judge's Chief ruling leaves some issues still open

URBANA – A judge's ruling denying a temporary restraining order to stop the University of Illinois from stopping Chief Illiniwek's performances leaves open complaints by two students that their rights are harmed by such action by campus trustees.

Judge Michael Jones ruled late Friday morning against the two students, Dan Maloney and Logan Ponce, only as far as denying them a temporary restraining order against the UI and its board of trustees.

Smith season ends

CHAMPAIGN - Jamar Smith will not play again for Illinois this season, coach Bruce Weber said in a statement this morning.

Meanwhile, there is a chance freshman Brian Carlwell could return to the court for the Big Ten tournament.