Combs'' brush with greatness

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Colgate coach Beth Combs called the opportunity to play Tennessee today in the NCAA women''s basketball tournament "a dream come true."

Two hours after today''s 10 a.m. tipoff, she might feel otherwise. But since her once-unheralded program won the Patriot League championship March 10, the former Illini and her Red Raiders have been on a whirlwind tour that won''t be diminished no matter how ugly the score is today.

UI men''s basketball box score

Illinois 72, Murray State 53

Mezydlo: As Brown goes, so go Illini mates

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dee Brown is having fun again.

Why? Because his mom said so.

Bearcats primed for Illini

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jason Maxiell is tired of losing to Deron Williams, and he doesn''t plan on it happening Sunday.

Maxiell, Cincinnati''s 6-foot-7 junior center, played high school basketball against Williams when Williams was at The Colony High and Maxiell was at Newman Smith in Texas.

No time to rest, reminisce for Weber

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Like a lot of us, Bruce Weber doesn''t have time to watch all the basketball he''d like to this time of year.

So it happened Thursday that the Illinois basketball coach caught only a glimpse of his former team, Southern Illinois, in its first-round NCAA tournament loss to Alabama.

Postcard from Columbus: Hey, has anybody spotted Ashley Judd?

Greetings once again from Columbus, which apparently traded populations with Lexington, Ky., overnight.

Wildcat Nation invaded Friday, taking over the downtown, gobbling up tickets and gumming up traffic.

Fans go to extremes for Illini games

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jacob and Brian''s excellent adventure doesn''t quite sound right, but it''s a good way to describe their NCAA tournament trip.

Jacob Meyer, a marketing major at the University of Illinois, and Brian O''Connor, a UI finance major, drove all night and slept in a car, but they say it was worth it to see Illinois'' 72-53 win over Murray State on Friday afternoon at the Nationwide Arena.

Dikmen sets record; softball team splits

Illinois'' Ilkay Dikmen finished 23rd in the 100-yard breaststroke at Friday''s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at College Station, Texas.

The senior''s time (1 minute, 9.83 seconds) was a lifetime best, a school record and a Turkish national record.

Hot-shooting Ingram gives Illini valuable minutes off the bench

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fans and reporters might have been amazed Friday when Jack Ingram buried a wild three-pointer late in Illinois'' 72-53 NCAA tournament win against Murray State.

It was Ingram''s first three in six tries as an Illini, but his coaches and teammates had seen it before.

Columbus discovering benefits of big-time sports

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The banners hang high from the light posts in downtown Columbus.

Restaurants and bars proudly welcome NCAA tournament fans, enticing them with drink and food specials. When else but tournament time can a fan partake in an eight-hour happy hour?