Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Crowd tells Michigan where to go

   CHAMPAIGN  The chants started late in the second half Sunday from the Assembly Hall crowd: "NIT. NIT."

   It wasn''t the fans'' tournament choice for the University of Illinois. They were suggesting a destination for the visiting Michigan Wolverines.

Assistants out of luck in Big Ten

   Robert McCullum will one day be a head coach. It is what the Illinois mens basketball assistant wants to do.

   Not at Northwestern, though. The schools athletic director made it clear on Day 1 of his search that Ricky Byrdsongs replacement will not be a first-time coach. He will be a head coach from another school.

NCAA could make stop at Illinois

This weekend, it's Purdue at the Assembly Hall.

Next month, maybe the NCAA tournament.

Next century, maybe an NCAA regional.

Rossow: Scheduling a hot item for Big Ten

   Hope you took a close look at Michigan State Saturday at the Assembly Hall.

   The Spartans may not be back for a while.

Streak over for Spartans

CHAMPAIGN – Michigan State just swallowed the spoonful of medicine known as Iowa, and the Spartans arrived in town today feeling much better.

Rossow: UI one loss from exiting title chase

   The players weren''t kidding Sunday. With a little help, Illinois can win the Big Ten title.

   Better not lose another game, though.

Illinois getting physical

CHAMPAIGN – The drill requires three players, one basketball and, most intriguing, no whistles.

It also requires sharp elbows, quick thinking and, every now and then, bandages and gauze.

It's Wrestlemania in gym shorts and high tops.

Recruiting a workout for UI staff

   Wednesday was signing day for the players.

   And sighing day for the coaches.

Better cram for UI test on tourney

   You know every pothole, every patch of rough pavement on the Road to the Final Four. You are familiar with the route because Illinois has been an NCAA tournament regular since 1983, skipping a year here and there.

   You know the Final Four''s in Indianapolis, you know of the Big Ten''s shaky recent record, and you know Illinois has a legitimate shot of receiving a bid next month.

Big men can succeed  out of state

   This is the kind of luck Illinois has with big men:

   Brett Robisch, who spent his final season with the Illini harmlessly roaming the perimeter, goes down to Oklahoma State and turns into a rebound-grabbing, elbow-swinging, jump hook-shooting war horse of a center.