Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Black and blue - and smiling, too

   CHAMPAIGN  He scored a season-high 15 points, grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds and played a season-high 20 minutes.

   But Damir Krupalija was most pleased about the bruise on his left hip sustained by diving after a loose ball in Saturday''s 84-59 win against Northwestern.

UI, Self learn all about switching in first half

CHAMPAIGN – He'd like to grab Herky the Hawkeye by the wrist and twist. He never wants to see another Crispin again. He knows how much he needs to gripe to get a technical foul. And he realizes playing four against five doesn't work.

Halfway through his first Big Ten season, Bill Self has a good feel for his new neighborhood.

Cook takes break after big first half

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Brian Cook knew something was right when he posted up 5 feet from the basket, turned around and buried a jump hook to give Illinois a 35-29 lead in the first half.

"That's a shot I don't normally take or don't normally make," the Illinois sophomore said. "That's when I realized things were going my way."

Illinois calls off guard

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – Missed Illinois shots don't bother Bill Self as much as missed Illinois defensive assignments.

That's why the Illinois coach was seething after his team's 98-95 overtime loss to Penn State on Wednesday night.

Bump in the road

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – If his team falls a hair short in its dogged pursuit of a Big Ten title, Bill Self will look back at a chilly night in Happy Valley and cringe until a migraine sets in.

That's how awful the Illinois coach felt walking off the Bryce Jordan Center floor late Wednesday night, caught in a celebration usually reserved for football triumphs in these parts.

No place like home

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – It hasn't gotten to the point where Bill Self pulls a Gene Hackman, whips out the tape measure and makes sure his players realize the Bryce Jordan Center rims are 10 feet from the ground, just like they are at the Assembly Hall.

But a few more nights of shabby shooting on the road, and Self might want to dust off his copy of "Hoosiers" for some psychological pointers.

Tragedy impacts Self

CHAMPAIGN – He won't be able to attend Wednesday's memorial service in Stillwater, Okla., because of his team's game at Penn State.

But Illinois coach Bill Self already has found a way to salute the 10 people killed when a chartered flight carrying members of Oklahoma State's basketball traveling party crashed Saturday in Colorado.

Central''s Mast rights Illinois ship

   ANN ARBOR, Mich.  Bill Self would like to say he planned on using Nate Mast all along, that his decision to insert the former walk-on from Champaign Central late in the first half was a premeditated act.

   But Self''s substitution was as spur-of-the-moment as it comes.

Business as usual

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – One of these days, Illinois is going to waltz into a Big Ten gym, play like a Top 10 basketball team is supposed to and win without having to nibble on its fingernails until the lights are turned off.

Marcus Griffin probably will be watching on TV somewhere, his days as an Illini long gone.

Big Blues

Johnny Orr can't make the turn at his favorite Naples, Fla., golf course without having someone pop the question.

What's wrong with Michigan basketball?