Loren Tate

Loren Tate

Tate: Size may not be major worry for Illinois

Brad Underwood's strike in Edwardsville hopefully terminated Illinois' reputation as a runner-up finisher in high-level basketball recruiting.

Mark Smith has added quality and depth to the Illini backcourt, and a sense of relief within the fandom. But how does that compute in the Big Ten basketball standings?

Tate: Martinez has sights set on world championship

"I was never unbeatable in high school or younger," reflected Isaiah Martinez.

But having defeated Penn State's Vincenzo Joseph twice before, and with two NCAA wrestling trophies on his mantel, it had to come as a shock when Joseph pinned him in the 165-pound NCAA final on March 18.

Tate: Likely addition of Smith welcome sight for Illini

Hear Smith's decision Wednesday at 6 p.m. on WDWS.

Coach Brad Underwood is making his first gigantic step in rebuilding Illinois basketball today.

Tate: College tennis an overseas affair

It's 16,032 kilometers, or nearly 10,000 miles, from Virum, Denmark, to Sydney, Australia.

Opposite ends of the planet. Makes a fellow wonder how much farther it would be to travel the opposite way around the ice-bound poles (don't try it, that's an extra 8,000 kilometers).

Tate: UI-Mizzou rivalry can heat up again

They're rushing the court in Columbia, Mo., and the ref hasn't tossed up the ball yet.

Yep, the once-troubled University of Missouri is joyous these days. With blue-chip basketball talent pouring in, the denizens remind of the penniless pauper who struck gold, or in this case the basketball lottery.

Tate: Money, recruiting lead college football talks

The press of this state's financial crisis is debilitating for the UI, and even worse for less affluent colleges.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Northern Illinois, which had dreams of becoming football's "Boise of the Midwest," saw state appropriations fall from $91 million in 2015 to $26.4 million, resulting in lower enrollment and the abolishment of 50 academic programs.

Tate: Cardinals trying to get on clear path

We don’t need sabermetrics to evaluate the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tate: Bridges not burned at MSU

There's that word again: culture! It's there or it isn't.

Who but Tom Izzo and the respected 41-year continuity of the Jud Heathcote-Izzo regime could have influenced upcoming sophomore Miles Bridges to delay his millionaire status?

Bridges' decision projects a lopsided 2018 Big Ten basketball race and turns Michigan State into a top-5 team with NCAA title potential.

Tate: Foreign flair suits UI's spring offerings

First, let's work on our pronunciations.

Start with Chayanid Prapassarangkul ... Swing Liu ... Pailin Ruttanasupagid. Then try Noe Khlif, Pengxuan Jiang and Aleks Vukic, or how about Giovanni Tadiotto and Edoardo Lipparelli.

Tate: Illinois' diamond dandies worth look

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to play road games,

Let 'em pick grounders at Shorty's kept plot,

Best to reach classrooms and study a lot.

— Apologies to Willie, but one poem is permitted every 10 years.

In an otherwise pedestrian school year for Illini women's sports, Tyra Perry's softballers are on the move.