Indianapolis making big deal about Big Ten tournament

   INDIANAPOLIS  If you''re in Indianapolis on March 7-10, you might think you''ve gone through a time warp. At least that''s what the fine folks in the Circle City want you to think.

   The Big Ten men''s basketball tournament will move from Chicago to Indianapolis this year for the first time. And the locals want a true hometown feel for the conference championships.

Final recruit in UI fold

   BAKERSFIELD, Calif.  It took two days longer than expected, but Ron Turner''s recruiting class recruiting class finally reached 22 signees on Friday, when Bakersfield College All-America safety James McGill faxed his national letter of intent to the Illinois coach.

   McGill was expected to sign Wednesday, but McGill told the Bakersfield Californian newspaper he thought about signing with Kansas State. He deliberated for two days before making it official with the Illini.

Inspired Cook dives into fray

   ANN ARBOR, Mich.  Brian Cook was dazed, maybe even confused, but he was never out of it.

   After knocking heads with Illinois teammate Lucas Johnson when the two went diving for a loose ball, Cook was wondering what state he was in, both physically and geographically.

UI women''s basketball box score

Purdue 80, Illinois 69

Self standing up for embattled star

   ANN ARBOR, Mich.  As is his custom, Illinois coach Bill Self fielded questions from the media Thursday night after his team beat Michigan 68-60.

   But Self ended his postgame news conference with a twist.

Illini keep eyes on prize

   CHAMPAIGN  All the bad karma floating through the Assembly Hall these days has done more than wreck the Big Ten championship hopes of the Illinois men.

   Theresa Grentz''s women can turn their attention away from the title trophy, too.

UI place for Brasic after all

   RIVERSIDE  Before signing with Minnesota or Northern Illinois earlier this week, Tim Brasic decided to phone Illinois coach Ron Turner one last time.

   It''s the best call the record-setting Riverside-Brookfield quarterback ever made.

Purdue pushes Illini backward

   CHAMPAIGN  Walter Payton never showed a stiff-arm this effective.

   Every time Illinois'' women''s basketball team made a charge to tighten its Thursday game against No. 7 Purdue, the prickly Big Ten leader responded. Its message was clear.

Illinois shows signs of life in first road win

   ANN ARBOR, Mich.  Hold off on that toe tag. Put away that body bag.

   Illinois'' basketball season is alive, if not yet well.

Tate: Johnson has way to turn the UI tide

   ANN ARBOR, Mich.  With barely six minutes showing in the first half Thursday night, turbulent ocean waves were sweeping over Bill Self''s sinking Illini.

   Except for Brian Cook''s sharpshooting  no other Illini scored in the first 12 minutes  the Illini were snuffed out offensively as Michigan grinded toward a 27-14 lead. Even the listless Michigan fandom, announced at 10,710 but with no more than 6,000 on hand, began to get in tune with the Hail to the Victors drumbeat.