Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

State tourney notebook

Future Illini Joseph Bertrand defended his Class 3A slam dunk title Friday during the IHSA skills competition.

The Sterling senior earned a score of 45 to finish four points in front of runner-up Zach Sweatman of Jacksonville.

NCAA Tourney: WKU 76, Illinois 72

Postgame call-in shows, Chester Frazier's reaction, Loren Tate's commentary ... here's our coverage of Illinois' first-round NCAA tournament loss to Western Kentucky at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.

NFL Day at Illinois

Scouts were on campus Wednesday to check out Illini with NFL potential.

Deron Williams: 'They can go pretty deep'

We caught up with Deron Williams in Utah, where the former Illini weighed in on the NCAA tournament:

"They can go pretty deep," Williams said of the Illini.


Weber phone spoof a big hit

"The response has been incredible," UI associate athletic director Shawn Wax said. "When we first made it available, we started getting e-mails, voicemails, text-messages from people saying 'This is great.' "

March Memories: Take that, Kansas

llinois is on the brink of reaching college basketball's promised land after a harder-than-it-looked 80-64 win against Kansas in Friday's late-night Midwest Regional semifinal. When they wake up today — noon seemed to be the players' desire — maybe it will sink in that only Arizona stands in the way of a trip to the Twin Cities.

"Do I feel anything special?" Sergio McClain said. "Not yet. There's too much work to be done."

March Memories: Arizona ends Final Four dream in '01

The Big Ten co-champions lost 87-81 to Lute Olson's motivated Arizona squad, in the process losing a chance to match the Flyin' Illini's feat of 1989.

"If next year we come up short again, I'm going to be real sick," junior Damir Krupalija said. "We have a lot of people coming back. Right now, everybody's sad. But deep down, we're excited about our opportunities next year."

10 questions for ... Deon Thomas

The Illini's all-time leading scorer was back in town last weekend to have his jersey raised to the rafters of the Assembly Hall. He'd like to return in a different role – as a college basketball coach. The 38-year-old family man, who retired from pro basketball last June after 14 years overseas, talked to sports editor Jim Rossow about Bruce Pearl, Bob Knight and Lou Henson.

Jim Rossow's Big Ten basketball report

Sports editor Jim Rossow takes you around the Big Ten Conference:

Chat with Bleill in Indy

HQ women's basketball beat writer Tony Bleill is courtside at Conseco. He'll take your questions at 4 p.m. Friday ahead of the UI's game against Ohio State at 5. Submit them now.