Another day, another ace

Looks like Itch Jones has yet another ace up his sleeve.

After years of seeing Big Ten opponents fold their hands against his No. 1 starters, the Illinois baseball coach again drew a winner from his pitching deck Friday in the league opener at Illinois Field.

In elite company

SAN ANTONIO – Jump in the car, hop on the train, book a flight.

Do whatever it takes. Just leave early enough to get to the Alamodome by 4 p.m. Sunday.

Johnson scores knockout blow

   SAN ANTONIO  You can''t blame Lucas Johnson for being tired after his Illini beat Kansas 80-64 Friday night.

   It wasn''t so much the season-high 25 minutes on the floor for the junior reserve.

Tate: Illini content to win without all the fanfare


Headlines aren't easy to grab down here.

An estimated 15,000 visitors, swarming around the weaving River Walk and the historical Alamo in toasty weather, are a story in themselves as they bring the city alive.

Williams takes control

SAN ANTONIO – If not for Frank Williams, the Illinois basketball team would be on its way home today. In a quiet, chartered jet.

After a slow start, hitting one of his first six shots, Williams finished with a career-high 30 points in Illinois' 80-64 win against Kansas on Friday night.

Terrible tourist has no time to tan

I'll admit it, I am the world's worst tourist.

Not the travel itself. That part I've got down pretty good. I know to make plane reservations early, check around for the best hotel deal and work the discounts on rental cars.

Illini aren't intimidated by Sweet 16

SAN ANTONIO – There are teams that break into a cold sweat before big games. Others tap their toes and fidget incessantly. Some don't get a wink of sleep.

Illinois? It whips out the crayons and starts drawing.

Penn State nice surprise for Delany

CHICAGO – Jim Delany's oldest son, being a North Carolina fan, wasn't thrilled. But presumably the rest of the Delany household was excited to see seventh-seeded Penn State dump second-seeded North Carolina in the NCAA tournament last weekend.

"Penn State surprising North Carolina was great," the Big Ten commissioner said. "Although it was hard on my son. Illinois and Michigan State were expected to get through, but they got through in good fashion: healthy, playing well and with enthusiasm."

Dome has room, not much of a view

Want to know how to judge the fan friendliness of a basketball arena? Find the seat that's the farthest away from the court and see if you can tell what's going on.

At the Alamodome, that is Section 306, Row 28, Seat 1. It's about 4 miles from the court.

San Antonio Sights and Sounds

Welcome to town:

Nice of the local paper to do a feature story about Frank Williams. Not so nice to run a photo of Sergio McClain with it, mistakenly identifying him as the Illini's point guard. They compounded the problem with this unique spelling throughout the story: McLain.