Illinois takes on Western Illinois in long-awaited rematch

It has been so long since Illinois played Western Illinois, Fighting Illini head coach Brad Underwood had just finished his 10-year stint as a Leathernecks assistant and was still 10 years from becoming a Division I head coach. On Nov. 22, 2003, Dee Brown led then-No. 12 Illinois to a 94-66 victory over Western Illinois in the first game of the Bruce Weber era. Twenty seasons later, the Leathernecks (2-3) finally get their rematch Friday

Northwestern stands between Illinois and one more game

Northwestern edged visiting Purdue last week to become bowl eligible. On Saturday, the Wildcats can deny in-state rival Illinois the same postseason distinction with a road victory, but Northwestern coach David Braun insists that doesn’t factor into the team’s preparation for the Big Ten contest in Champaign, Ill. “That’s not on my mind. … We talk about leaving no doubt, and this is an opportunity to do that,” Braun said. Cam Porter rushed for 95

No. 23 Illinois looks for strong start vs. Southern

No. 23 Illinois hosts Southern on Sunday night in Champaign at 7 p.m. Central Time, and Fighting Illini coach Brad Underwood is hoping his team remembers to start playing on time in this matchup, unlike its effort Friday night. “I don’t have a great answer for you,” he said of his team’s slow start after Friday night’s 87-64 nonconference win over Valparaiso. “I don’t like them.” There wasn’t much to like about Illinois’ first half

No. 16 Iowa’s formula: beat Illini, seal Big Ten title game bid

For No. 16 Iowa, a win Saturday means a spot in the Big Ten championship game. For Illinois, a win Saturday at Iowa City would seal bowl eligibility. The Illini’s late-season charge has been fueled by two quarterbacks, with usual starter Luke Altmyer set to return this week after senior backup John Paddock did stellar work the past two games. Last week, Paddock threw for a Memorial Stadium-record 507 yards in his first Illinois start

Former Illini Roger Powell, Valpo visit No. 23 Illinois

There’s probably only one opposing head coach in Division I who’s guaranteed to receive a huge pregame ovation from Illinois fans – and he’ll be on the sidelines for Friday’s non-conference game between Valparaiso (2-1) and No. 23 Illinois (2-1). Roger Powell Jr., the starting power forward on the Fighting Illini squad that went all the way to the 2005 NCAA championship game, returns to Champaign as the Beacons’ first-year head coach. Powell has done

Tyler Kolek’s health keys Marquette’s visit to Illinois

All eyes will be on Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek’s gait when No. 4 Marquette takes the court at No. 23 Illinois for a Gavitt Tipoff Games marquee matchup Tuesday night in Champaign, Ill. Kolek, the reigning Big East Player of the Year and preseason Associated Press All-American, limped to the locker room with 8:06 left in Marquette’s 95-65 win over Rider Friday night and did not return. “He turned his ankle,” Marquette coach Shaka

No. 25 Illinois picks up perimeter plan vs Oakland

Among the reasons No. 25 Illinois didn’t live up to its potential last year? It finished last in the Big Ten and 340th out of Division I’s 362 teams in 3-point shooting percentage. So when the Illini missed 13 of their first 14 3-point tries in Monday’s opener against Eastern Illinois, it felt like déjà vu all over again. Then junior Luke Goode and freshman Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn came off the bench to make 5 of

Illinois, Indiana scrap for gains in standings

Indiana might not embrace the common ground with a neighboring Big Ten rival ahead of a Saturday afternoon date at Illinois in a Big Ten crossover game. But the Hoosiers (3-6, 1-5) and Fighting Illini (4-5, 2-4) can’t ignore it exists. Neither team performed to the level it had hoped and through nine games is grasping at faint hope for a postseason. But there is optimism thanks to upset wins by both programs last week.

Minnesota looks for big November push, beginning with Illinois

Minnesota will try to become bowl eligible when it hosts Illinois in a Big Ten Conference matchup on Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) are looking for their third win in a row after knocking off then-No. 24 Iowa and Michigan State in their two most recent games. They sit in a four-way tie for first place in the West Division along with Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Minnesota coach P.J.

Maryland, Illinois attempt to cleanse systems after ugly losses

Maryland and Illinois will look to atone for last week’s missed opportunities when the Big Ten foes meet on Saturday in College Park, Md. The Terrapins (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) return for their homecoming game after stumbling in a 37-17 loss to then-No. 4 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday. Maryland flirted with an upset by scoring the game’s first 10 points and held a 17-10 advantage in the third quarter, but a slew