A few fun facts on Maryland, which Illinois takes on today for a trip to the Sweet 16:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Thursday's success story wasn't all about five classy seniors.
The fire at ARCO Arena was lit by a freshman who, according to Illini Brian Johnson, "not only has quick hands but arms that are disproportionate to his body. I want to measure those arms."
CHAMPAIGN – It's becoming routine.
Two years, two visits from the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
CHAMPAIGN – A year ago, they were novices at this March Madness stuff.
The NCAA tournament? For years, that was something Illinois women's basketball players experienced in front of their television sets. Or maybe in person – in an arena seat, of course – if a regional happened to be playing nearby.
So Gary Williams, how does it feel to finally win a tournament game after two straight first-round flameouts?
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – South Carolina, Xavier and Temple succumbed to unanticipated forces when tournament basketball play shoved off today.
Indiana blew a huge lead against Oklahoma but won anyway.
And just to show the NCAA has a sense of humor, Princeton's scholars were allowed to play show-and-tell with naughty Nevada Las Vegas, and the Rebels flunked.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – They're back on the brink of the Sweet 16. And this time, the only singing Lon Kruger's Illini plan to do is the praises of their next opponent.
TAYLORVILLE – It was 1993, a good year for good girls' basketball players at Taylorville High School.
The coach at the time recalls a seventh-grader hanging around the gym, willing to scrimmage if a varsity player needed a break.
Hello again from Sacramento, where I'm looking for a barber to style my hair like South Alabama showboat Rico Alderson's.
How you think I'd look in dreadlocks?
It's just 2-5 in the '90s, but Illinois holds a 22-19 NCAA tournament record overall heading into today's opener against South Alabama in Sacramento, Calif. The UI's tournament history, game by game: