Tate: Big Ten pretenders breed plenty of title contenders

CHAMPAIGN – Midwestern eyebrows arched when, in a 60-man NBA draft, the only five Big Ten players chosen hailed from Michigan State and Illinois.

Where were Big Ten MVP Terence Dials of Ohio State, massive Marco Killingsworth of Indiana, Big Ten tourney MVP Jeff Horner of Iowa and a deadeye who scored 39 against Illinois, Daniel Horton of Michigan?

In end, Illini make big splash

CHAMPAIGN – The 2006 Illinois football recruiting class includes an unexpected bonus. A potentially giant bonus.

Defensive end Melvin Alaeze, listed as the nation's No. 4 overall recruit by in 2005, will play for Ron Zook's Illini.

Officials locate Ryan Katcher's truck at Kickapoo

Local law enforcement officials this morning located Oakwood High School graduate Ryan Katcher’s black 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck. Katcher has been missing since November 2000.

Detectives could not confirm this afternoon if Katcher’s remains were in the truck.

Tate: Okruch, Zook ready to tackle UI weakness together

CHAMPAIGN – Eighteen years ago, just ahead of the Illini football opener, Lou Tepper presented a meticulously detailed defensive game plan to first-year head coach John Mackovic.

Mackovic replied something approximating: "I don't want to look at that. You're the defensive expert. You handle that side of it."

Tate: Lineup options puzzling for Illini

CHAMPAIGN – Breaking news: Bruce Weber heads into his fourth Illini basketball campaign.

It's news because Illini Nation's recruitniks, young and old, have become mind-numbed with daily double doses of Gordon-Rose. Beg pardon for the reminder, but there's a season to be conducted while Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose chase their diplomas. And the coach is obliged to operate primarily with the leftovers from the Augustine-Brown team.

Powell trying to scale new heights

By the time the NBA draft rolled around last month, Roger Powell Jr. was fairly confident he'd be playing with the Utah Jazz this summer.

By the time the draft was over, it seemed like fate that he'd wear purple and white.

New beginnings

Jeff Mezydlo, who covers the NFL for The News-Gazette, takes a look at where former Illini in the NFL will pad up for training camp this week:

Brett's random thoughts

Want proof that Illinois is making inroads on the national recruiting scene? Last week, featured an interview with Jordan DeMercy, a 6-foot-6 small forward from the Atlanta area who's rising up the recruiting charts, and he listed Illinois along with Connecticut as schools he'd like to hear from. When kids who aren't getting interest are asking for it, your program has taken some strides.

Remember when? 1983-84 Big Ten basketball champions

Bruce Douglas remembers his 1983-84 Illinois basketball teammates as highly competitive. Fiercely attentive. A never-say-die collection of sore losers.

And that was before they took the court.

Illini legends, lists and lore

Twenty seven years ago Thursday, former Illinois standout Dick Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Butkus, who won the honor in his first year of eligibility, was selected along with Johnny Unitas, Yale Lary and Ron Mix. Butkus is one of six Illini to be honored at Canton, Ohio. The others: