CHAMPAIGN – First, Illinois pitcher Ted Rowe ended an eight-week wait for his second victory of the season.
Then, Vince DiMaria made sure Illini coach Itch Jones wouldn''t have to wait one day more for his 1,200th career victory.
CHAMPAIGN – If you thought it was long watching 10 hours of NFL draft coverage, just imagine if your future was riding on seeing your name on that TV screen.
That was the case for Illinois senior Sean Bubin, who was glued to the set at his Champaign apartment for most of Saturday.
The NBA scrap heap is piled high with their names. They are trivia question answers and joke punchlines, and Deron Williams is determined never to be one of them.
They are guys like – and try not to snicker – Marcus Taylor, Rod Grizzard and Marquis Estill, college players with big reps but without NBA credentials.
The folks in the Big Ten and at Minnesota will keep a close eye on Houston in mid-July. July 13 to be exact.
That night, Minute Maid Park hosts its first All-Star Game. Both the Big Ten and Minnesota leaders have a rooting interest. They will pull hard for Barry Bonds, Kerry Wood and their pals from the NL.
Its 11-match winning streak ended. And likely so did Illinois'' shot at a first Big Ten women''s tennis title.
No. 25 Indiana won the doubles points and held off Illinois 4-3 on Saturday, handing Sujay Lama''s program its first defeat since March 7.
URBANA – Ohio State scored a run without a hit. Illinois couldn''t get a hit to score a run.
The visiting Buckeyes claimed a 1-0 Big Ten Conference softball victory Friday at Eichelberger Field, further hindering the Illini''s quest for a conference title. Michigan holds a four-game lead ahead of the UI with seven games remaining.
URBANA – Illinois'' match with Purdue was, for all intents and purposes, over.
The No. 1 Illini men''s tennis team grabbed the doubles point, then took three straight singles contests to win the match before the sun set on the Atkins Tennis Center courts.
RIVERWOODS – He didn''t know it at the time, but Nolan Nawrocki''s final year at Illinois provided perfect training for his future career. The Chicago native was taking graduate classes, playing football as a walk-on and working an assistantship within the College of Journalism placement office.
Turns out long hours and little sleep are job hazards for an NFL draft expert like Nawrocki, who lettered for the Illini in 1998-99. Nawrocki compiles Pro Football Weekly''s Draft Preview book – 192 pages of analysis on nearly 500 players who could be selected in this weekend''s draft, which starts at 11 a.m. today.
CHAMPAIGN – Now the Illinois baseball team knows how Bill Murray felt in the movie "Groundhog Day."
Like Murray''s character, the Illini are trapped in a seemingly endless loop of repetition. Their own Groundhog Day occurs each Friday, the opening day for Big Ten series. And, to make another movie analogy, it''s starting to feel a whole lot like "Friday the 13th" to the beleaguered Illini.
Illinois'' Abe Jones was second in the 400-meter hurdles Friday at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.
Jones clocked in at 51.66 seconds, 0.04 behind winner Pat Brown of Oklahoma Baptist.