Illini feel weak

   EAST LANSING, Mich.  When the Illinois womens basketball team left Champaign a week ago, it was one game below .500 and staring at the possibility of staying home for the postseason.

   But after a 72-59 victory Sunday against Michigan State, that same Illini team returned home with a winning record and a four-game winning streakincluding three straight Big Ten road victories.

Asmussen: Turner's staff won't retreat from bonding

They won't go on a weekend retreat to Allerton Park. And they won't hole up in a Champaign hotel for a night.

The Illinois football coaches, new and old, will get to know each other naturally. That means working together in the office and socializing with their families away from Memorial Stadium.

UI men''s basketball box score vs. Michigan

Illinois 80, Michigan 51

UI squads start off indoor track season with victories

Sophomore Perdita Felicien set a school record in the 60-meter hurdles, winning the event in 8.2 seconds, as the Illini women's track and field team captured its first indoor track meet of the season Saturday in Champaign. The time also provisionally qualified Felecien for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

UI''s Bradford gaining momentum

   CHAMPAIGN  As Cory Bradford''s scoring and shooting numbers fell during the nonconference season, his Illinois teammates never lost faith.

   "He made it two years without really having back-to-back bad games," teammate Robert Archibald said. "When his production went down, it was because everyone else improved so much.

Illini women eyeing postseason

With one game remaining in a rugged stretch of seven games in 18 days, the Illinois women's basketball team has put itself in position to gain a postseason berth.

Starting with a home loss against Michigan on Dec. 28, the Illini have won four of six games, a stretch that has bumped the team's record back to the .500 level after Thursday's 75-73 victory at Ohio State.

Tate: Krupalija's presence gives UI lift

"In a perfect world," mused Illini coach Bill Self, "we would be redshirting Damir (Krupalija) ... saving his two seasons of eligibility."

But a perfect world it is not.

McClain eases pain caused by injuries with triple-double

CHAMPAIGN – He was reminded how versatile Sergio McClain can be, how valuable Damir Krupalija can be and how much of an advantage the Assembly Hall can be.

He once again saw a suffocating defense, a productive bench and some nit-picking referees.

Only one question remained for Illinois coach Bill Self after Saturday's 80-51 blowout of Michigan before another sellout crowd:

New-look McClain delivers

CHAMPAIGN – Sergio McClain had been talking about braiding his hair. So when he showed up at Saturday morning's shootaround with a shaved head, his Illinois teammates were surprised.

Jerrance Howard said "guys were just laughing" and Lucas Johnson, another Illini with a shorn scalp, said "Hey, Lucas."

Tate: Self's test is building top program

Bill Self is doing a bang-up job with Lon Kruger's talent. He's 12-4 against a rugged schedule as he heads into tonight's date with Michigan.

But while Self digs his teeth into a furious Big Ten basketball race, the greater long-range question is: