The Pontiac 66ers and Champaign Swarm start play at Pontiac Township High School on March 6.
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
March 31, 2016

Pro Basketball Launches In Pontiac

The Livingston County city of Pontiac, home to one of the country's long-running high school basketball tournaments, has used that history to lure in a minor league franchise.  The Pontiac 66ers, part of the Midwest Professional Basketball Association, play on the same court as the high school team, en route to a 12-4 mark this season.  They'll play in the league championship Friday night.

U of I Athletic Director Josh Whitman with basketball coach John Groce at Memorial Stadium Thursday.
Rob McColley/Illinois Public Media
March 24, 2016

After Arrests, Illinois AD Gives Groce Another Endorsement

University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman has again assured basketball coach John Groce that his job is secure, despite poor team play and player arrests.  A Thursday afternoon press conference was held after the recent arrests of junior guards Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn.

Illinois' Jaylon Tate (1) in action during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Bloomington, Ind.
Darron Cummings/Associated Press
March 12, 2016

Illinois Guard Tate Arrested On Domestic Battery Charge

Jaylon Tate was arrested hours after Illinois' loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament Friday.  He's facing a misdemeanor charge. Tate is the third Illinios player to face charges since August. 

Malcolm Hill launches a shot against Purdue.
Rob McColley/Illinois Public Media
March 12, 2016

Illini Bow Out With 89-58 Loss To Purdue

A balanced scoring attack and blistering shooting percentage rocketed the Purdue men past Illinois 89-58 Friday afternoon in Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal action at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

U of I Athletic Director Josh Whitman with new Illini Football Coach Lovie Smith at the announcement of his hiring.
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
March 11, 2016

Columnist Leitch Weighs In On The Lovie Smith Hype

This week’s hiring of Lovie Smith as the 25th football coach in Illini history has generated huge interest among fans and sportswriters.  U of I graduate Will Leitch falls into both those categories.  In a column this week for Sports On Earth, the Mattoon native recalls another optimistic time for Illini football, more than 25 years ago.

Illinois' Jalen Coleman-Lands (5) drives against Iowa's Mike Gesell (10) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten Conference tournament Thursday.
Kiichiro Sato/Assocated Press
March 10, 2016

Illini Hold On For Stunning 68-66 Upset Of No. 20 Iowa

Jalen Coleman-Lands led the way with 17 points, and Illinois won for just the second time in six games with their 68-66 upset of No. 20 Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament Thursday.  The Illini play No. 13 Purdue in Friday's quarterfinals.

Illinois' Michael Finke (43) reacts on the bench in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Indianapolis. Illinois won 85-52.
Michael Conroy/Associated Press
March 09, 2016

Finke, Illinois Cruise By Minnesota 85-52 In Big 10 Tourney

The Illini coasted to an easy victory in Wednesday night's opening game of the tournament.  Champaign native Michael Finke finished with 17 points.  Illinois (14-18) moves on to play No. 5 seed Iowa Thursday. 

New Illini Football Coach Lovie Smith, after taking questions from reporters at The U of I's Bielfeldt Administration Building Monday.
Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media
March 07, 2016

Lovie Smith Introduced As New Illini Football Coach

Smith says he expects the team he’s inherited to compete for a Big Ten Championship. The former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaners coach said he planned to complete his career at Illinois, after signing a six-year, $21 million contract.  "I don't know what better commitment I can show to everyone that we're going to be here for the long haul," he said.

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