UI men''s basketball practice report

Bruce Weber needed to provide a spark at Tuesday''s practice. So he got fired up.

The Illinois coach had his most demonstrative day yet using some, um, colorful language in berating his team''s defensive effort.

Illinois relishes its role

CHAMPAIGN – They would have liked a better seeding at this week''s Big Ten tournament, but Tara Hurless and her Illinois soccer teammates don''t mind playing the underdog role in Columbus, Ohio.

The Illini (12-4-2) are the fourth seed heading into Thursday''s quarterfinal match with fifth-seeded Northwestern.

Asmussen''s Insider

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Bad break for Purdue

David Teague, Purdue''s second-leading scorer last season, broke a bone in his right hand during practice Monday.

There was no immediate indication how long the 6-foot-5 junior guard will be out, coach Gene Keady said.

Tate: Shooting no pain for UI guards

This might come as a shock, but the Illinois - basketball team will not go undefeated this winter.

Prepare yourself. Face reality. For all the rock star flattery, and regardless of the elite ranking, the firm of Dee, Deron & Co. will lose. Coach Bruce Weber admits as much, and Wisconsin, Michigan State and Michigan will see to it up north, if it hasn''t already happened in December.

Position watch

CHAMPAIGN – Of course, Ron Turner checks out the BCS standings. It is almost impossible for him to avoid.

But unlike the rest of you, the Illinois coach has a say in the standings. As one of the voting members in the coaches'' poll, Turner''s pick helps determine who is No. 1 and No. 25. And every team in between.

Face off

This week''s topic: Is firing a college football coach during the season an appropriate thing to do?

Mezydlo: Former Illini remains San Francisco treat

CHICAGO – It doesn''t matter if it''s Champaign or San Francisco, Brandon Lloyd hasn''t really changed.

He still wears the skull cap to cover his cornrows. He still mugs for a TV camera during warmups and hammed it up when his fourth-quarter reception was reviewed and then overturned Sunday night at Soldier Field.

Ask Bobby

During college football season, Bob Asmussen, our resident expert, will answer a question each week on his specialty. This week''s question:

Expansion out of sight, out of mind

CHICAGO – It took 22 minutes on Sunday.

Twenty-two blissful minutes for Jim Delany. Twenty-two minutes of fielding questions at Big Ten media day without one mention of the e-word.