Jackpot leaves man speechless

TUSCOLA – Norman Ellerbusch has a dilemma. He's tongue-tied, in a manner of speaking, due to his recent encounter with Lady Luck.

The Tuscola retiree only recently came forward publicly to acknowledge he is holding the winning Little Lotto ticket drawn Jan. 2 with a payoff of $245,000.

Who's that Illini?

I lettered only two years for the Ilini men's tennis team but made the most of my time in Orange and Blue. I was an All-Big Ten selection during the 1972-73 and 1973-74 season, helping Illinois to a combined dual-meet record of 32-9.

Simpson taking medical redshirt due to surgery

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Freshman forward Lacey Simpson is ready to compete. Her body has other ideas.

Simpson, out since early December after internal surgery, will seek a medical redshirt this season. She has returned to practice on a limited basis, but the conditioning she lost – as well as losing valuable experience – will prevent her from returning this season.

Tate: Recruiting leaves trail of success

If you're wondering when a 37-2 record, a stunning NCAA tournament run and every Coach of the Year award will positively impact Illini basketball recruiting, the answer is: NOW.

After a century of operating primarily within the state borders, the University of Illinois is becoming a major player in a wider marketplace.

No inside presence poses problems for Illini women

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Illinois coach Theresa Grentz might be inclined to burn the game film from Thursday's ugly 63-48 loss at Indiana, but the rest of the Big Ten's women's basketball coaches might want to get their hands on it.

Indiana's zone defense collapsed on the Illini frontline, and when the Illinois guards failed to locate their shooting touch, the result was a disastrous first half and a lopsided loss.

UI women's basketball box score

Hoosiers 63, Illini 48

Who's that Illini?

I am the last Illini to win an NCAA track and field title in the men's high jump. In 1957, I cleared 6 feet, 7 inches to claim the crown. The feat capped a personally memorable season, coming on the heels of my sweep of the Big Ten indoor and outdoor titles in the event. I also was an IHSA state champion, winning the high jump for Springfield Cathedral in 1954.

Tate: Randle gets in on the act

CHAMPAIGN – Sometimes Brian Randle hurts himself.

He has fouled out in three Big Ten games. So when he gathered two fouls in the first two minutes Wednesday night, Bruce Weber sat him down for the next 18.

Gratton displays separate, unique personalities on, off court

CHAMPAIGN – Fans who only see Illinois freshman Danielle Gratton on the basketball floor might be shocked to discover she has a nutty side.

Disregard the stern, never-crack-a-smile visage Gratton sports on the court. Off it, she might one day challenge Audrey Tabon and Janelle Hughes for the title of funniest person on the team, albeit with a sense of humor some folks might not understand.

Jim's random thoughts

Sports editor Jim Rossow's thoughts on the Big Ten after another wacky Wednesday: