MAHOMET – Just because he's still a year away from playing basketball at the Assembly Hall doesn't mean Brett Melton hasn't heard Illinois fans' favorite battle cry.
Chants of ILL-INI have been raining down on the Mahomet-Seymour High School sharpshooter all season from area stands. But don't confuse the shouts with the prideful cries of Illini faithful.
Chris Basak walked, stole second and scored on Champaign Central product Dan O'Neill's single in the top of the ninth inning, giving Illinois a 5-4 college baseball victory Wednesday against host Jacksonville, Fla.
Basak had two hits and scored three runs for the Illini (8-4). Rob Fischer added three hits, and D.J. Svihlik had two hits, a run and two RBI.
Four Big Ten teams play in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 starting tonight. Seven other athletic directors will be glued to their televisions.
A few years ago, the NCAA did away with its old revenue distribution plan. Before, teams and leagues were awarded money based on their performance in the tournament. Period.
Shortstop Jon Anderson went 2 for 4, but the rest of Illinois' offense was relatively quiet as Jacksonville won 8-0 Tuesday night in Jacksonville, Fla.
Kevin Rudden added a single for the Illini (7-4), who trailed 2-0 through six innings.
Rick Majerus, coach/comedian/cheeseburger connoisseur, enjoys a good gag as much as the next guy.
But at the 1989 NCAA tournament, his Ball State basketball team went too far for even a yuckster like him.
NORMAL – When you're Brian Cook, big-shot McDonald's All-American, the pressure comes from all directions.
From Illinois fans across the state, who've already penciled you in at one of the starting forward spots next season. From the people in your basketball-crazed hometown of Lincoln, who've been waiting 19 years for their boys to make it back to state. From recruiting know-it-alls, who've tagged you the second coming of Danny Manning.
CARBONDALE - If you've never seen Darius Miles, don't fret it. You'll have plenty of opportunities the next 15 years.
Running like an antelope and flying with the eagles, the slender 6-foot-9 East St. Louis junior broke the collective heart of Mount Vernon 72-58 Tuesday in a packed super-sectional at Southern Illinois University.
Kevin Rudden drove in four runs, three on a two-out home run in the sixth inning, to lead Illinois to a 12-5 baseball victory against Florida A&M on Monday in Jacksonville, Fla.
Rob Fischer also homered and drove in two runs for the Illini (7-3), who improved to 3-1 on their spring trip. Led by Craig Marquie's three singles, Illinois had 12 hits.
Does an adverse outcome – failure to meet statistical requirements for black admissions – mean something is seriously wrong with the NCAA's admissions standard?
Or is there something wrong with the schooling and preparation that creates such an unfortunate outcome?