Home wins no certainty

CHAMPAIGN – Death. Taxes. Illinois wins at the Assembly Hall.

It's been so simple lately, so concrete.

Augustine puts on magical show for visiting cousin

CHAMPAIGN – James Augustine might want to start leaving tickets for his cousin at every Illinois game.

For the first time this season, Nick Sorensen got to see his favorite basketball player Saturday. And Augustine responded, tying his career high with 23 points despite foul trouble.

Randle gives Illini, crowd boost

CHAMPAIGN – Brian Randle had to think a while about his last tip-in slam dunk. His rebound jam against Michigan on Saturday was fresh in his mind.

"My freshman year at the United Center I had one," Randle said. "Those type of things are just a big boost for the crowd and a big boost for the team. It was fun."

Dietz: Hayden, Moorehead want to cap season with crown

INDIANAPOLIS – As Kelvin Hayden limped through the Indianapolis locker room Thursday morning, he was smiling despite the hitch in hisgait.

Because of an ankle injury sustained Wednesday, the Colts rookie defensive back is questionable for today's AFC divisional matchup against Pittsburgh. Even with a boot on his right foot, Hayden was excited about his first shot at the playoffs.

It's your business: Tin Pan restaurant now serving in Paxton

A casual restaurant featuring American-style food and an industrial decor has opened in Paxton's old bakery building at 126 S. Market St.

Open since Dec. 28, the new place is called Tin Pan.

Asmussen: No time to waste

Justin Sanders couldn't wait to get to the Big Ten. Even though it took a nine-hour drive from his home in Mississippi.

On Tuesday, the safety from Northeast Mississippi College starts classes at Illinois. In eight months, he hopes to be schooling Big Ten receivers.

Track teams start fast

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The calendar says it's January, but coach Gary Winckler's Illinois women's track and field team was in midseason form Saturday at the Hawkeye Invitational.

Sophomore Ashley Hanshaw finished first in the pole vault, going a career-best 12 feet, 5 inches. Senior Nina Henson earned first in the triple jump (39-8) and second in the long jump (17-9).

Who's that Illini?

I once broke up six passes in one game, setting an Illinois football game record in 2001 against Northern Illinois that still stands. I finished the season with 12 passes broken up from my strong safety position, a total that ranks fifth on the all-time Illini charts. For my career, I broke up 26 passes, the third-highest total in school history.

Bob's random thoughts

Every school in the country needs a guy like Boone Pickens. The 77-year-old Oklahoma oilman is donating $165 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State. The money will be used for new buildings and facilities upgrades, which includes $120 million worth of work on Boone Pickens Stadium.

Tate: Offense bails out defense

"You think you know something. And you don't know nothing."

– An old "friend"

CHAMPAIGN – How can you argue with that?

This column has been a major contributor among those who have lauded the Illini defense to the heavens. Why, they even held Iowa to 23 first-half points Jan. 7 in the worst performance of the season.