While on their tour of South Africa, members of Craig Tiley''s NCAA championship men''s tennis team will check in periodically. Here''s the second report courtesy Brian Wilson:
CHAMPAIGN – After the latest in a line of problems driving, Luther Head offered to walk away.
The Illinois guard, who was arrested Tuesday and charged with driving on a suspended license and failure to produce proof of insurance, will miss his second straight game Saturday, when the Illini host Purdue.
CHAMPAIGN – The postgame mood didn''t suggest that of a wake, if that means anything. But about 1,682 fans at the Assembly Hall held their breath when Illinois'' Aminata Yanni went down late in the Illini''s victory against Ohio State on Thursday night.
Yanni was racing in for a fast-break layup when she was stripped of the ball. As she landed, Yanni crumpled to the floor while holding her right knee, and with Angelina Williams tending to her, play continued for a few seconds on the Buckeyes'' end.
Lately, Illinois has been getting ahead of itself in the recruiting game.
After a week in which the Illini got oral commitments from two high school juniors, Illinois'' recruiting focus shifts back to the senior class this weekend, when guard Rajon Rondo is expected to visit the UI campus.
CHAMPAIGN – They nearly squandered every bit of a 17-point halftime lead and might have lost one of their starters to injury.
But what the Illinois women gained with Thursday''s seat-squirming 52-51 victory against No. 22 Ohio State at the Assembly Hall might have a lasting effect.
CHAMPAIGN – James Augustine went back to the clean-shaven look Wednesday, but don''t read too much into it.
The Illinois sophomore, who shaved his head for much of his freshman season but went with hair this season, cleared his pate again for the Big Ten opener against Ohio State.
Winning its first Midlands Tournament title has vaulted Illinois wrestling back to No. 1.
The Illini top the Wrestling Mall Top 25 poll released Wednesday. They are No. 4 in two other polls: Intermat and WIN Magazine.
CHAMPAIGN – At Illinois, distraction is the new routine.
An off-court incident, a player suspension, a last-minute lineup change? Old hat.
CHAMPAIGN – Jim Foster could watch the film of his team''s loss at Rutgers from now until next Thursday and still not be able to figure out exactly what his Ohio State Buckeyes were thinking at times.
Foster''s club had a season-high 22 turnovers, only a few of which came against Rutgers'' fullcourt press. As much as the veteran coach would like to provide an answer, he knows something else: There might not be an answer.