UI gets early start on recruiting

ROLLING MEADOWS – Illinois fans might want to keep their eyes on Doug Millsaps' Rolling Meadows football team in the fall. A pair of future Illini will run with the Mustangs.

Tailback Abe Jones and offensive lineman Rob Needham have committed to Ron Turner's team. They won't sign with the school until next February.

Illinois enjoying award-winning freshman trend

   CHAMPAIGN  A few hours after hearing a second Big Ten Freshman of the Year plaque was headed their way, Illinois basketball players already were talking threepeat.

   Ive heard Jerrance (Howard) talking about how hes going to try to get it next year, Brian Cook said. Were starting a little bit of a streak here.

Tate: UI's Kruger gets best of Knight

Does Illini coach Lon Kruger have Indiana's number?

Do matchups somehow favor the Illini in Friday's 11:30 a.m. showdown at Chicago's United Center?

Tournament talk

   We had staff writer Jeff D''Alessio listen in on Monday''s pre-tournament Big Ten coaches conference call. Some of the things he heard:

Illinois licking chops at playing the host

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Big Ten rotates its wrestling championship between the 11 schools. Illinois coach Mark Johnson is looking forward to his turn.

It's been nine years since Champaign-Urbana welcomed the nation's best wrestling conference. Illinois finished 10th in the 1991 meet, the year before Johnson took over as coach.

Duke doubles up on UI tennis

They knew they were in for a struggle, and despite winning some matches, the Illinois men's and women's tennis teams both lost to higher-ranked Duke teams Sunday in Durham, N.C.

UI wrestler earns crown

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Adam Tirapelle happily scaled the Big Ten podium Sunday. He just wishes he had more company.

The junior became Illinois' first Big Ten wrestling champion since 1997, winning the 149-pound final 4-2 against Minnesota's Jared Lawrence. Tirapelle dominated his portion of the tournament, scoring a pin in the semifinals and 10-2 decision in the first round at Mackey Arena.

UI''s fast start in baseball encouraging

   HOUSTON  It''s not just that the Illinois baseball team is off to its best start under head coach Itch Jones. Even more important is the quality of the opponents.

   "We''re having a good season so far," senior D.J. Svihlik said after collecting four hits Sunday in an 11-9 victory against third-ranked Houston. "(Opening opponent) Texas-Pan Am was a good team, and Houston''s ranking speaks for itself."

Big Ten coaches honor UI''s Cook

CHAMPAIGN – Two months ago, Brian Cook wondered if he belonged in the Big Ten.

Today, conference coaches gave him his answer.

Ex-Illini assistant naps honor

It didn't take a former Illini long to make an impact in her head coaching debut.

Tulsa coach Kathy McConnell-Miller, a former assistant to Illinois women's basketball coach Theresa Grentz, was named the Western Athletic Conference women's coach of the year Sunday by a vote of the league's coaches.