Illini remain calm after BCS confimes bowl date with LSU

   CHAMPAIGN  They didn''t jump into each other''s arms like they did after Ohio State beat Michigan. They didn''t shout at the television set. Much.

   Sunday afternoon, the Illinois football players packed into their Memorial Stadium lounge and watched the BCS pairings show. They knew where they were going (Sugar Bowl) and their opponent (Louisiana State). The only thing left was the official announcement.

Illini freshman has good timing

   CHICAGO  For a team that doesn''t make many three-pointers, Illinois buried a big one Saturday against Pepperdine.

   Freshman Jere Issenmann''s three with five seconds left in regulation propelled the Illini into overtime, and the UI came away with a 77-71 win at the United Center.

Illinois women pass exam

   CHICAGO  Considering everything that went wrong in Saturday''s first half of the Illinois women''s basketball game against Pepperdine, that the Illini managed to pull out a 77-71 overtime victory at the United Center was as uplifting as the early moments were deflating.

   If nothing else, the Illini learned a little something about themselves. Specifically, the lesson was that early adversity doesn''t spell doom. And the most interested party in that query was the UI''s head coach.

Illini awaken after halftime to trip Hogs

   CHICAGO  Most people expected Illinois to be flattening foes early this season.

   Instead, the Illini have been the flat ones.

Illinois women''s basketball box score

Illinois 77, Pepperdine 71

Squad''s sweet on Sugar

   CHAMPAIGN  They have finals to study for and Christmas shopping after that. But the Illinois football players sure didn''t sound like a stressed-out bunch Saturday afternoon.

   They''re having fun, Illinois coach Ron Turner said.

Self showing intestinal fortitude

   CHICAGO  Illinois'' close games this season have churned the stomach of many an Illini fan.

   But they don''t have anything to do with the problems plaguing its head coach.

Practice doesn´t make UI perfect against Hogs´ press

   CHICAGO  Seeing Arkansas on tape is a lot like checking out Mike Tyson.

   You can watch all you want, but it doesn''t prepare you for the first punch.

Cook finds emotional rescue

   CHICAGO  There was no reason, or one specific person, for Brian Cook to blame for his recent run of poor play. If he wanted to remedy the problem, he need look no further than himself.

   I pretty much (stunk) the last couple of games, the Illinois junior forward said. I thought I should change that. Now''s a good time. At this level you''ve got to play with emotion, and I''ve got to get that into my head.

Dietz: Wakefield, Cardinals eye playoffs

   The way things have been going for Fred Wakefield lately, you just figured the Illinois basketball team would rally to beat Arizona.

   Wakefield, the Arizona Cardinals rookie defensive end, was in the stands Tuesday as his alma mater fell to the Wildcats in Phoenix. He wasn''t too happy with the officiating, but that''s been his only reason to frown the past few weeks.