Winning its first Midlands Tournament title has vaulted Illinois wrestling back to No. 1.
The Illini top the Wrestling Mall Top 25 poll released Wednesday. They are No. 4 in two other polls: Intermat and WIN Magazine.
CHAMPAIGN – Jim Foster could watch the film of his team''s loss at Rutgers from now until next Thursday and still not be able to figure out exactly what his Ohio State Buckeyes were thinking at times.
Foster''s club had a season-high 22 turnovers, only a few of which came against Rutgers'' fullcourt press. As much as the veteran coach would like to provide an answer, he knows something else: There might not be an answer.
CHAMPAIGN – It''s not so much that Luther Head is wasting extraordinary natural talent with his repeated shenanigans.
Other athletes have thrown their skills to the wind in a hundred different ways.
CHAMPAIGN – At Illinois, distraction is the new routine.
An off-court incident, a player suspension, a last-minute lineup change? Old hat.
CHAMPAIGN – James Augustine went back to the clean-shaven look Wednesday, but don''t read too much into it.
The Illinois sophomore, who shaved his head for much of his freshman season but went with hair this season, cleared his pate again for the Big Ten opener against Ohio State.
CHAMPAIGN – Ever the perfectionist, Nick Smith wasn''t satisfied.
Mildly pleased, perhaps. But not satisfied.
PEORIA – The last time Jamar Smith talked to Sergio McClain, the Peoria Richwoods star got an earful of recruiting advice from the former Illini.
"He told me, ''Just keep it in Illinois,'' " Smith said. "That was a big thing for me."
On Fox''s hit series "24," David Palmer is the president of the United States.
The David Palmer who on Monday committed to play basketball at Illinois has no presidential aspirations, but his goals are plenty lofty.
There are lots of reasons why they''re saying the Big Ten is down this year.
Bad losses. Bad teams. A shortage of Final Four contenders.