With victory, UI glad to put Peoria in past

PEORIA – Not many teams look forward to a date with Duke.

But after all the hype, hoopla and hubbub surrounding Monday night's battle with Bradley, the 15th-ranked Illini are pleased to put Monday night in the rear-view mirror and move onto the next game.

Illini honor quarterback

He hangs out with linemen, throws 51/2 touchdowns for every interception and leads his team to improbable wins.

Kurt Kittner was rewarded for his deeds at the Illinois football team's banquet Monday night.

Defenders bring out Bradford''s best

   PEORIA  Cory Bradford asked to sit down when reporters swarmed him after Monday''s Illini win against Bradley.

   Seems he was out of gas after being hounded by one of the Missouri Valley Conference''s top defenders all game long.

Teed-off UI bounces back

   CHAMPAIGN  On Sunday, they fell off the bike. Monday night, the Illinois women hopped right back on.

   And ran right over Boston College.

Tatelines: Hype better than reality for Illinois

It's called winning ugly.

All the buildup, an overlay of emotion you could cut with a knife, the three Manual stars returning to a packed Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois at Bradley for the first time since Lou Boudreau and Harry Combes led a 43-33 triumph in 1936, Lon Kruger vs. old friend Jim Molinari and what happened?

Krupalija sizes up situation, hits key shots

PEORIA – When it comes to big men shooting the basketball, there's no Illini better than Damir Krupalija.

Just ask him.

The red carpet

   PEORIA  Lon Kruger will face one of the toughest crowds of his coaching career today at the Peoria Civic Center. And the fans at the Illinois-Bradley game should be pretty rowdy, too.

   Seven hours before tonight''s tipoff, Kruger will speak at a luncheon hosted by Bradley boosters. They have four or five of them a year, whenever there''s a big game that night. But they''ve never flown in ESPN personality and Bradley grad Charlie Steiner from Connecticut to emcee the thing, like they are today. And they''ve never needed 2,000 sets of silverware, like they will to accommodate today''s lunchtime crowd at the Civic Center.

Turner plenty busy

CHAMPAIGN – The rest of us spent Sunday watching the NFL and raking the last of the leaves.

Ron Turner had a busier day. In the morning, he talked bowl games and contract extensions with Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther. In the afternoon, he flew to Chicago and moved from television station to television station, chatting up his bowl-bound Illini.

BC nearly upsets Georgia

   CHAMPAIGN  Boston College nearly turned tonight''s Preseason WNIT championship game into the Surprise Bowl.

   After UC Santa Barbara upended Illinois in the first semifinal, the 20th-ranked Eagles pushed No. 3 Georgia into the homestretch Sunday before fading, the Bulldogs taking a 78-70 victory in the other WNIT semifinal.

UI women get a wakeup call

CHAMPAIGN – Had the same thing occurred on the visitors' turf, it would have been more easily understood. Anyone who has visited Santa Barbara, Calif., can be forgiven for falling asleep amid a warm sun and soothing ocean breezes.

But not in Champaign. Not on a gray, damp, dingy November day. Sleep through the first few minutes of a game on UC Santa Barbara's homecourt, and you get sympathy. The mind can wander when faced with serenity. But it's not heavily occupied in November in Champaign.