Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Rossow: Linebacker can't wait for return

Bumped into Eric Guenther on Thursday afternoon, not a minute too soon.

The Illinois middle linebacker was effervescent and eager, his ankles taped and his attitude top-notch. He had that day-before-spring-break look college kids get this time of year.

Best to come from Illinois guard after trial by fire

CHICAGO – He scored like no other freshman in Illinois history.

He made more three-pointers in one season than any other Illini.

A win and they''re in

CHICAGO – Cleotis Brown has an admission to make.

That aching right ankle of his, the one he told trainer Rod Cardinal felt fine and dandy Saturday morning? Well, it still hurts.

Johnson fires up Illinois

   CHICAGO  Considering how often he got tangled up with Luke Recker and all those huddles with officials Sam Lickliter and Tom Rucker, it''s amazing Lucas Johnson found time to score so many points.

   Johnson followed up a career night Thursday with a new high Friday against Indiana, leading the Illini with 17 points in their 82-66 runaway win at the United Center.

Galesburg grad rethinking his college choice

   CHICAGO  From Conference USA Player of the Year Quentin Richardson to Duke super sub Corey Maggette, the 1998 News-Gazette All-State team has made its mark on college basketball like none other.

    But they haven''t all been feel-good stories.

Bradford a pain for Gophers

CHICAGO – Cory Bradford didn't know which was bigger: Kyle Sanden's rump or his own three-point spree that rescued Illinois in the second half.

"Oh man, did that hurt," Bradford said, referring to Sanden's painful hip-check and not his own clutch shooting in Thursday's 67-64 upset of Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament. "I felt like I had diarrhea or something after he hit me. I'm glad no one else was out there with me. I mean, it was bad."

Cardinal can''t carry Purdue in first round

CHICAGO – No disrespect to his alma mater, but Brian Cardinal didn't want the opportunity to watch Unity in tonight's sectional grudge match against St. Joseph-Ogden.

But he's got the chance now, Purdue bowing out of the Big Ten tournament despite a record effort from the Tolono native.

The envelope, please

So we picked Purdue to win the Big Ten in our preseason special in November. It's not the only mistake we made (we had Illinois sixth). Now that the regular season's over, the guessing's over. Here are our Big Ten winners.

Cornell stays cool under fire

CHAMPAIGN – Jaraan Cornell does not rattle easily.

Not in basketball, not in class, certainly not during a night on the town. His roommate says the silky Purdue guard is as cool as they come under any situation, a regular Fonzie in baggy shorts.

He never lets anybody see him sweat.

Bradford lives up to his billing

   If Gene Keady wanted to get the lowdown on Illinois'' leading scorer before Saturday''s game, all he had to do was open his mail.

   Ten Big Ten coaches and 22 media members this week were sent an 8 x 10 color flier chronicling Cory Bradford''s achievements from Illinois'' athletic public relations department.