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.

Lovie Smith and Josh Whitman at the University of Illinois Memorial Stadium.
Josh Whitman/University of Illinois
March 07, 2016

U of I Hires Lovie Smith As New Football Coach

The University of Illinois says former NFL coach Lovie Smith will be named the next football coach at the University of Illinois.  Athletic Director Josh Whitman will annouce the former Chicago Bears coach as the Illini's 25th head coach at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Photo caption: Illini Khalid Lewis looks to inbound the ball against Penn State's Jordan Dickerson.
Rob McColley/Illinois Public Media
March 07, 2016

Illini Lose To Penn State In Season-Ender

Malcolm Hill scored a career-high 39 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to get the Illini men past Penn State, as the Nittany Lions defeated Illinois 86-79 in double-overtime Sunday in Happy Valley.

Illini basketball player Maverick Morgan making a layup.
Rob McColley/Illinois Public Media
March 04, 2016

Illini Lose On The Road To Maryland 81-55

Maverick Morgan tallied the first double-double of his Illini career, but it wasn't nearly enough to overcome a three-point barrage and Illinois’ 81-55 loss to Maryland Thursday night suburban Washington DC.

Illini men's basketball player Malcolm Hill.
Rob McColley/Illinois Public Media
February 29, 2016

Nunn Scores 25, Illinois Beats Minnesota 84-71

Kendrick Nunn scored 25 points, as Illinois beat Minnesota 84-71 Sunday night. The Illini opened the second half on a 29-8 run for a 61-48 lead, and they never looked back.

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