Finals countdown

  CHAMPAIGN  For some kids, a good report card''s worth a special dinner, a new outfit or an hour tacked onto the curfew.

   For Frank Williams, it could mean a 14-day, all-expenses-paid trip to an exotic destination.

Tate: Illini need quick start in the fall

For all the encouraging football signs this spring, Illini autumn concerns have a familiar ring.

All signs – AGAIN! – point to the absolute need for a fast start. Players from 0-11 and 3-8 teams need to believe, and disillusioned fans need to be energized. And there stands Game 2 foe San Diego State in the Y of the road.

Rossow: Grentz, UI closing in on new deal

Two assistant coaches and one raise.

That's what's in store this spring for Theresa Grentz, who says she's happy to hang around Illinois a few more years.

It's lights on for Illini baseball

CHAMPAIGN – Todd McClure took the scenic route to class Monday, then spent the rest of the day trying to wipe that smile off his face.

"I was driving down Sixth Street and I could see the lights over the campus," the Illinois center fielder said of the new light standards that tower over Illinois Field. "I don't think I've ever been that excited to go to class."

Illinois fixes what's ailing with sweep

After losing seven of eight Big Ten games and dropping to eighth in the league standings, Illinois got just what it needed in Iowa City, Iowa.

D.J. Svihlik was 4 for 5 with his 11th home run and three RBI on Sunday for the Illini (25-16, 11-9), who beat Iowa 4-3 to sweep their four-game series and move back into third place. The top four teams advance to the Big Ten tournament.

Tepper stands ground

BATON ROUGE, La. – The defensive coordinator should have been thrilled with the spring game score: 7-6. He wasn't.

Sure, part of Lou Tepper was happy to see his Louisiana State defense dominate the 99-play bash. But the other side remembers the importance of touchdowns and big plays.

Illini captures freestyle crown

Illinois freshman John Lockhart, a Mahomet-Seymour product, beat Boe Rushton of Boise, Idaho, 6-2 Sunday to claim the heavyweight title in the 1999 Junior Freestyle Wrestling National Championships and World Team trials at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Journell offers Illinois relief

IOWA CITY, Iowa – His memory's short, and his stamina's long.

Illinois reliever Jimmy Journell couldn't ask for a better combination.

Illinois wraps up men''s tennis title

Second-ranked Illinois clinched the Big Ten's first regular season men's tennis championship Saturday with a convincing 6-1 win at Michigan.

The win lifted the Illini to 8-0 in conference play and clinched the No. 1 seed for next weekend's Big Ten tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. Previously, the Big Ten recognized only the tournament winner as its champion, but coaches voted to reward the regular season winner as well.

Built to last

CHAMPAIGN – With $2.2 million, you can buy a really nice house in the southwest part of town. Maybe four.

With $2.2 million, you can buy a third starter (Jon Lieber), utility infielder (Chris Gomez) or shaky closer (Bob Wickman).

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