Illinois might not be at full strength when they finish the regular season at Iowa Saturday night. Senior guard Joseph Bertrand left Tuesday's game early with a knee injury. Head coach John Groce said on a teleconference Friday that Bertrand practiced Thursday and will hopefully be ready. Meanwhile freshman point guard Jaylon Tate will be closer to a game-time deicision as he nurses a foot injury.
The Illinois baseball team will take a four-game winning streak into their series at Western Kentucky this weekend. The start of that series - originally scheduled for Friday - was pushed back until Saturday.
If you're looking for a decision on a starting quarterback soon, you're probably going to have to wait for at least a few more weeks. While offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said earlier this week he could name a starter by the end of spring, he isn't going to force the issue. Right now, Wes Lunt, Aaron Bailey and Reilly O'Toole are all getting equal reps with the first-team offense, and Cubit says that will probably continue for the next few weeks.
Illinois-signee Aaron Jordan was named to the Chicago Sun-Times All-Area Team Friday. The Plainfield East junior - and future Illini - averaged 20 points a game, while shooting 47% from 3-PT range. Curie's Cliff Alexander was named the Sun-Times Player of the Year and the Naismith National Player of the Year Friday.
No matter how the Illinois men's basketball season finishes, head coach John Groce has made a lasting impact in the lives of one central Illinois family. All it took was a letter - a simple response - in a time of need. As WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten reports, it made all the difference.
19 NFL scouts from 18 teams were in Champaign Thursday for Illinois' annual Pro Day. Several Illinois seniors worked out in hopes of impressing the scouts before the NFL Draft in May. One guy who had a lot to prove was linebacker Jonathan Brown. He struggled in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, running it in 5.03 seconds. Thursday he improved that time, clocking in at 4.85. Brown also bench 18 reps at 225 pounds. He only did 16 reps at the Combine.
Illinois cut No. 23 Iowa’s lead to nine with 5:17 left in the game but missed its final seven shots as the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes pulled away for an 81-62 win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday.
The Illinois Track and Field teams will send three athletes to the NCAA Indoor Championships, which begin March 14 in Albuquerque, N.M. On the men's side, senior Vanier Joseph will run in the 60m hurdles, and junior Davis Fraker will compete in the weight throw. For the women, freshman Kandie Bloch-Jones - an Argenta-Oreana grad - has qualified to compete in the high jump. Bloch-Jones won the Big Ten Championship last week. She becomes the first Illini female high jumper since 2007 to qualify for NCAA Indoors.
Spring practice began Wednesday for the Illinois football team, and the battle for the starting quarterback job is on. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit said Wednesday he hopes to name a starter by the end of the spring, but he will wait until fall camp if a starter doesn't emerge. Three quarterbacks - Wes Lunt, Aaron Bailey and Reilly O'Toole split up equal reps with the first team on day one.
It was a record-setting night at State Farm Center - just not the kind of history Illinois was hoping to right. No. 12 Michigan led from wire-to-wire en route to an 84-53 win. The 31-point margin of victory is the largest by any visiting team in State Farm Center history. Michigan shot 56% from the field and nearly 70% from 3-PT range. The Wolverines hit 16 threes. That ties a State Farm Center record. Illinois (17-13, 6-11) was led by Rayvonte Rice's 16 points and nine rebounds. Illinois will finish up the regular season Saturday at Iowa.
Spring football practice starts Wednesday at the U of I as Tim Beckman prepares for his third year with the Illini. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more on some of the storylines to watch as Spring practice begins.
Tim Beckman announced Monday that running back Dami Ayoola and defensive tackle Vontrell Williams are no longer with the Illinois football team. Spring practice starts Wednesday. Ayoola was not with the team last year, but he had hoped to come back this year. Beckman said neither player followed the guidelines and expectations needed to be part of the team.
Illinois' postseason hopes got a big lift Saturday when Illinois beat No. 18 Michigan State in East Lansing. Now, believe it or not, their NCAA Tournament chances are still alive if they can finish strong.
Illinois freshman Kandie Bloch-Jones won the Big Ten indoor high jump title over the weekend. The Argenta-Oreana grad cleared 1.8m to beat out Springfield High-grad Sarah Maxson (Indiana) for the Big Ten title.
Following a 4-0 weekend in Gainesville, Fla., a pair of Illini earned conference honors on Monday. Sophomore Kevin Duchene was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, while sophomore Ryan Nagle was tabbed Big Ten Co-Player of the Week after helping Illinois to two wins each over No. 23 Florida and Florida Gulf Coast.
Illinois senior guard Amber Moore and junior guard Ivory Crawford were named honorable mention All-Big Ten Monday, as the conference announced its postseason honors. Crawford earned the honor from both the conference coaches and media, while Moore was named honorable mention by Big Ten media members.
The Illinois basketball team cranks up the defense and former Illinois assistant coach Jay Price talks about their new found postseason hopes.
Illini public address announcer Tim Sinclair has been named to the same position with the Chicago Fire. He will stay on doing Illini games and with WBGL Radio in addition to working with the Major League Soccer team.
Illinois won at Michigan State for the first time since 2006 Saturday. Tracy Abrams scored a team-high 12 points as the Illini upset Michigan State 53-46 for their third win in a row. Illinois held its fourth straight opponent to under 50 points. The Illini haven't done that since 1947.
Illinois LEO Houston Bates has decided to skip his final football season at Illinois and will transfer to a school closer to his home in Louisiana to finish his collegiate playing career. Bates, a native of Covington, La., will graduate in May with his bachelor’s degree in community health, and would be eligible to play immediately at a different school should he choose.
Illinois narrowly missed a huge upset of No. 16 Nebraska, falling 72-65 to the Huskers in front of 7,480 fans at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday. The Illini pulled within 65-63 with 3:03 remaining on an Amber Moore three-pointer but made just 2-of-7 free throws down the stretch as Nebraska salted away the victory from the free-throw line, making 7-of-8 in the final 2:06.
The Illinois men snapped a five-game home losing streak with a win over a red-hot Nebraska team Wednesday night. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on how they did it, and what the win means moving forward.
Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Kendrick Nunn led the way again with a game-high 13 points as Illinois avenged an earlier loss to Nebraska 60-49. Nunn continued his hot shooting, going 3-for-4 from 3PT range. Rayvonte Rice added 10 points and 9 rebounds for Illinois.
Five-star shooting guard Charles Matthews from Chicago's St. Rita High School verbally committed to Kentucky Wednesday morning, choosing the Wildcats over Illinois and three other finalists. Matthews is the No. 1 player in the state of Illinois and No. 12 in the nation according to ESPN.
John Groce has been looking for a consistent second scoring option behind Rayvonte Rice, and he may have finally found some help in freshmen Malcolm Hill and Kendrick Nunn. The two first-year players have been mainstays in the starting lineup for the last two weeks. Nunn is the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week after scoring 19 points at Minnesota. He and Hill have provided the spark this team has been looking for, and they've done a good job taking some of the pressure off of Rice.
Illinois' Kendrick Nunn was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week Monday after he scored a game-high 19 points to help lead Illinois past Minnesota Wednesday night in Minneapolis. It's the first freshman of the week honor for the Chicago-native. Nunn has come on strong late in the season, averaging 13 points game since becoming a starter earlier this month.
Jered Cortez was overcome with emotion as he got ready to take his place at the top of the medal stand. The Glenbard North senior won a 3-1 overtime tie-break to win his fourth straight state championship Saturday night.
A successful weekend for the Illini women's gymnastics team was validated today by the conference office, as they named Amber See Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week and Erin Buchanan Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
Former Illini assistant coach Jay Price looks at the Big Ten race and Illinois' postseason opportunities.
The Illini men continued their dominance at the Barn Wednesday night, winning for the 11th time in the last 13 tries in MInneapolis. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was with the team in Minnesota and has more.
Freshman Kendrick Nunn scored a career-high 19 points on 5-7 from 3-PT, and Nnanna Egwu picked up his first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as Illinois rallied past Minnesota 62-49 Wednesday night at Williams Arena. Illinois (15-12, 4-10) fell behind by 11 points early, but they outscored the Gophers 38-22 in the second half to put the game away.
The Big Ten Conference has handed out six Freshman Gymnast of the Week honors this year, and Illinois' Chandler Eggleston has won five of those six. There is no question he is one of the brightest young stars nationwide, but as WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten reports, Eggleston has his eyes on a much bigger goal - and he is convinced the U of I can take him there.
The Illinois basketball team is hoping to draw some inspiration from a special guest in practice. Former Illinois guard DJ Richardson has been in town this week working with the team at practice. Richardson's international game is on hold while he recovers from an ankle injury, so he is using the time to try and help out the current team who has lost 10 of it's last 11 games. Richardson knows what they are going through, and he is glad to do whatever he can to help.
Despite their 1-2 start, the Illinois baseball team did show some positive team did show some positive signs especially at the plate over the weekend. The Illini scored 30 runs in their three-game series against Georgia State. It's an offense with a lot of new faces, but they pounded out 34 hits and 3 home runs.
The Illinois baseball team got a wake-up call, losing two out of three in their season-opening series at Georgia State. The pitching, which was supposed to be the strength of this team, was anything but over the weekend.
Nnanna Egwu was one of the few bright spots for Illinois in their loss to Ohio State Saturday night. Egwu pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds to along with three blocks against the Buckeyes. The junior ranks third in the conference in blocks and Top 10 in the league in rebounding in conference games. While the offense hasn't come as quickly or easily as fans would like, the other parts of his game are among the best in the Big Ten.
The Illinois basketball team continues to struggle. Jay Price provides analysis in studio.
No. 22 Ohio State beat Illinois for the second time this season, 48-39, Saturday night at State Farm Center. The Illini have lost 10 out of their last 11 games.
CHAMPAIGN -- Millions of dollars have been raised through a "naming" fundraising campaign at the State Farm Center.
The losses keep mounting for Illinois, who has now lost nine of their last ten games and fallen back into dead last in the Big Ten. The latest defeat came at the hands of Nebraska last night in Lincoln.
Rayvonte Rice scored 23 points, but Nebraska pulled away late to hand Illinois a 67-58 loss. The loss is Illinois’ 9th in the last 10 games. Nebraska’s Shavon Shields led all scorers with 33 points. Rice was 7-17 FG (7-11 FT) for the Illini. Freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill earned their second straight start and combined to score 17 points. Nnanna Egwu struggled to find the scoring column (4 pts), but pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Illinois (14-11, 3-9) drops into last place in the Big Ten. They’ll host Ohio State Sunday night.
DECATUR -- A former Illinois football player returned to Central Illinois to motivate students.
Indiana was the unanimous choice by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to claim the Big Ten Championship, it was announced on Wednesday. The conference’s coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three players from their own squads to a Players to Watch list. The Hoosiers were followed in the preseason poll by No. 2 Nebraska, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan State, with Illinois and Michigan tied for fifth.
Illinois got a big boost from it's freshmen in Sunday's 60-55 win at Penn State, but the veterans will need to be the ones to re-emerge if they want to save their season down the stretch. Illinois will go for it's second straight win when they visit Nebraka tonight (8:00 pm, BTN).
It has been a long time coming for Illinois - to finally see some positive results from all their hard work. That is exactly what they have heading into Wednesday's game at Nebraska (8:00 pm, BTN).
The streak is over. The Illinois basketball team put an end to it's eight-game losing streak with a 60-55 win at Penn State Sunday, and a lineup change may have been the spark they needed. John Groce put freshmen Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill in the starting lineup for the first time this year. They replaced seniors Joseph Bertrand and Jon Ekey, who had both started the first 23 games of the year. Nunn and Hill combined to score 30 points on 11-22 shooting, ensuring the move paid off.
Kendrick Nunn scored a career-high 19 points leading Illinois over Penn State 60-55. The win snapped the Illini's eight-game losing streak. Malcolm Hill also scored a career-high 11 points.
Illini basketball commit Aaron Jordan credits a lot of his success to his father Rob. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has the story on their special relationship.
Illini women's basketball falls to Minnesota 66-61. Illini men's tennis defeats (10) Texas 4-3. (15) Illini wrestling defeats (9) Northwestern 24-12.
Illini commit Aaron Jordan scored 17 points for Plainfield East as they defeated rival Plainfield North 69-48.
Illinois softball sweeps UIC, Loyola. Men's tennis upsets No. 8 Texas A&M; Women's gymnastics falls to No. 6 Michigan
Former Illinois football coach Ron Zook is getting back in the game. The Green Bay Packers announced Friday they have hired Zook as their new assistant special teams coach.
The Illinois track and field team added a three-time state champion this week. Pekin's Cole Henderson won the 100m, 200m and long jump at the IHSA State Championships last spring. He had offers to play football and track at smaller schools, but ultimately he decided to focus on track and field at Illinois.
Tim Beckman signed 12 new players on National Signing Day Wednesday, giving him 18 total new faces for next year's incoming class. It's a group that doesn't exactly have the national experts buzzing, but it does fill some positions of need.
Illini men's tennis rallies past Notre Dame
CHAMPAIGN -- The loyalty of Illini fans was tested with Tuesday night's weather.
The Illinois basketball team hung with Wisconsin for most of the night, but the Badgers were too much down the stretch as they pulled away for a 75-63 win over Illinois Tuesday night at the State Farm Center. Only about 4,100 fans braved the winter weather to watch the Illini, but Rayvonte Rice had no problem heading up. The Champaign-native led three players in double figures with a game-high 24 points. Joseph Bertrand added 11. Nnanna Egwu chipped in 10. Wisconsin, though, was too much from long range. The Badgers knocked home 10 threes. Illinois (13-10, 2-8) is back in action Sunday at Penn St.
Illinois defensive lineman Bryce Douglas was given his release from the U of I Tuesday, and he tells WCIA 3 he is hoping to transfer to another school where he can continue his football career. This comes after a neck injury ended his Illinois playing career early.
Chatrice White is not only the most highly-touted recruit Matt Bollant has ever landed as head coach, she is also one of the most talented recruits in Illinois history. She's hoping to make an equally large impact when she arrives on campus next year. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten sat down with White to find out what she will bring to the U of I.
Illinois will take a seven-game losing streak into Tuesday's game against Wisconsin. Through it all, Groce is staying positive, and he is keeping the message to his players simple.
Former Illini assistant coach Jay Price talks with Matt Wettersten about the current state of Illinois basketball.
Centennial quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald stopped by WCIA to talk with Matt Wettersten about his decision to commit to the Illini.
Illinois stumbled out of the gate as Indiana scored 34 points in the game’s first minutes and cruised to a 77-58 victory at State Farm Center on Sunday. Ivory Crawford led the Illini with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting but Indiana made 12 three-pointers and out-rebounded Illinois 45-26.
Illinois rallied from down 21 first half points, to take a five point lead in the second half. However, the 15th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes were too much. Iowa won 81-74 despite a game-high 20 points from Joseph Bertrand.
Centennial 2015 quarterback Jimmy Fitzgerald committed to play football at Illinois Saturday. He is a three star recruit according to rivals.com. Fitzgerald also had offers from Yale, Harvard, and others.
Illinois started hot but gave up two big runs in the first half, and Ohio State took a 90-64 win at Value City Arena on Thursday. Jacqui Grant led the way with a career-high 23 points and Amber Moore added 20, including six three-pointers, but the Buckeyes made 25-of-29 free throws compared to only 6-of-7 by the Illini. Illinois falls to 9-11 overall, 2-6 in the Big Ten, while Ohio State moves to 14-10, 4-4.
Illinois senior offensive lineman Corey Lewis' story has been told many times before. Three torn ACLs and five knee surgeries in five years. He was given a sixth year of eligibility, which he played from start to finish - only to find out after the season he had played the entire year with a torn ACL.
Spring football practice starts in a little more than a month for Illinois. There are a lot of question marks heading into Tim Beckman's third season - none bigger than who will play quarterback. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns caught up with the three leading candidates, who will all be fighting it out for one spot.
The Illinois men's tennis team qualified for next month's national indoor championships with two wins last weekend over Clemson and Michigan. It will be the first time since 2010 they have advanced to indoor nationals, and the No. 22 Illini say it will be a good chance to test themselves against the nation's best early in the spring season.
Illinois women's basketball recruit Chatrice White (Shelby, NE) has been picked to play in the 2014 McDonald's All-American Game. ESPN ranks the Nebraska native as the No. 4 post player in her class (No. 27 overall).
The Illinois basketball team is in the middle what head coach John Groce calls a physical, and more importantly, mental break from game action. Illinois will carry a six-game losing streak into Saturday's game against Iowa.
CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- Illinois pride is being spread across the state.
Former Illini Hillary Haen is returning to her Alma Mater as an assistant coach.
Illinois freshman Jacqui Grant is third on the team in scoring, averaging over 13 points per game. She's giving a big boost to her squad.
Starting pitcher Kevin Duchene is coming off an impressive freshman season where he went 9-1 for the Illini. He's looking to do even more as he prepares for his sophomore season.
Illinois freshman Jacqui Grant tied her career-high with 22 points, but Illinois lost to No. 19 Purdue 80-68 Monday night at State Farm Center. Grant's 22 points came on 9-for-14 shooting. She also added 7 rebounds. Ivory Crawford added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Illinois, who falls to 9-11 overall (2-5 Big Ten).
The Illinois baseball season is only a couple weeks away from getting started, but practice is already in full swing under head coach Dan Hartleb. Illinois is hoping to pick up where they left off after their NCAA tournament run last season.
Illinois' losing streak reached six games Sunday after a 10-point loss at Indiana, but the Illini are taking some positives away as they move forward. One of those encouraging signs was the play of freshman point guard Jaylon Tate.
Illinois lost to Indiana 56-46. Rayvonte Rice scored 20 points in a losing effort.
Update: 1:46 pm, 1/24/14, Friday NATIONAL -- Josh Brent was sentenced to 180-days in jail and ten years probation for manslaughter.
Illinois' leading scorer Rayvonte Rice was held scoreless for the first time in his collegiate career (84 games) as the Illini lost to Ohio State 62-55 Thursday night in Columbus. The loss was Illinois' fifth straight in the conference play. Joseph Bertrand led the way for Illinois with 19 points. Nnanna Egwu broke out of his slump with ten points, his first points in three games. Illinois (13-7, 2-5) will carry a five-game losing streak on the road to Indiana Sunday.
Illinois scored 15 of the game’s final 20 points to pull away for a 61-51 win in front of 5,360 at Michigan State on Thursday, as the Fighting Illini earned their second road win in their last three attempts and their second-straight win at the Breslin Center. Ivory Crawford led the way with 14 points and Jacqui Grant posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Illinois held MSU, which entered the game averaging 75.9 points per game, to its lowest point total of the season.
Former Illini Deron Williams was one of 28 players named to the USA Men's Basketball National Team roster on Thursday. From that pool of 28, they will eventually pick 12 players who will compete for Team USA at the World Championships and at the 2016 Olympics.
Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas was given a contract extension and a raise Thursday by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The Board approved a $50,000 raise that will bring Thomas' base salary to $554,000 per year, and also approved a three-year extension that will keep Thomas in Champaign-Urbana through August 2019.
Illinois head coach John Groce admitted Wednesday he crossed the line when it comes to showing his emotions on the bench. Groce received a technical foul after throwing off his jacket during Saturday's loss to Michigan State.
Illinois head coach John Groce said Wednesday he wants Rayvonte Rice to be even more aggressive in order to take his game and the team to the next level. Rice leads the team with 17.4 ppg, and Groce says the last couple days in practice are the best he has looked since straining his adductor muscle January 12th against Northwestern.
Illinois basketball has lost four straight games, its longest losing streak in two years. One of the biggest reasons is the lack of an inside presence. Junior center Nnanna Egwu hasn't scored in two games.
Former Illini assistant coach Jay Price talks about the current team.
The Illinois basketball team lost its fourth straight game, a 78-62 loss to Michigan State. The Freshman continue to develop.
Former Illini Eddie Johnson was recognized at halftime of the Illinois basketball game against Michigan State. It's the 35th anniversary of his game-winning shot that defeated #1 Michigan State in 1979.
Illinois dropped to 13-6 (2-4) with a 78-62 loss to Michigan State. It is the fourth loss in a row for the Illini.
Former Illinois soccer star Vanessa DiBernardo is now officially a professional soccer player. DiBernardo was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars with the fourth overall pick in the National Women's Soccer League draft Friday.
Things went from bad to worse for the Illinois basketball team Wednesday night in a 66-58 loss to Purdue. It was Illinois' third straight loss, and now they're left searching for answers with the toughest part of their schedule on the way.
Illinois lost it's third consecutive game Wednesday night 66-58 to Purdue. Illinois' leading scorer Rayvonte Rice was in the starting lineup, despite playing through an adductor strain. Rice scored 11 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Tracy Abrams led the way with 13 points, but Illinois was out-toughed on the glass. Purdue pulled down 16 offensive rebounds, which led to an abundance of second-chance opportunities. Illinois (13-5, 2-3) hosts Michigan State Saturday night.
Former Illinois football player and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Akeem Spence was arrested Tuesday on drug charges. According to the police report, Spence was pulled over in Escambia Co. Alabama after driving in excess of 100 mph. Police searched his car and found an unspecified amount of marijuana.
Centennial senior and Illinois basketball signee Michael Finke's recent trip to the YMCA turned into a bloody mess.
John Groce wouldn't say definitively how much - or even if - Rayvonte Rice will play against Purdue Wednesday night. Illinois' leading scorer is nursing a strained adductor muscle, which Groce says he injured Sunday night at Northwestern.
Illinois lost to Northwestern Sunday 49-43 falling to 13-4 (2-2). Tracy Abrams was the only Illini in double figures with 13 points. Illinois hosts Purdue Wednesday. Aaron Bennett reports from Evanston and former Illini assistant coach Jay Price provides analysis.
The Illinois women's basketball team lost to Nebraska Sunday 75-56. The Illini drop to 7-9, 0-3 in the Big Ten. Ivory Crawford led the Illini with 19 points, while Jacqui Grant chipped in 15 points. Illinois plays at Northwestern Wednesday.
Matt Bollant's team built an early 17-5 lead over No. 14 Penn State Thursday night at State Farm Center, but the Nittany Lions rallied to hand Illinois it's second straight conference loss 82-76. Ivory Crawford led all scorers with 25 points. Freshman Jacqui Grant added 15 points before fouling out. Illinois falls to 7-8 (0-2) this season.