What has been anticipated for a few days became reality Thursday as Illinois named Ohio’s John Groce as its men’s basketball coach. Will it be a good hire? A bad hire? Who knows? It’s absurd to draw a conclusion on something like that on the day of an introductory press conference. But a few things are without dispute.
Here’s a look at some of the happenings on Big Ten gridirons, as the fallout from Danny O’Brien’s decision to attend Wisconsin continues. Poor Penn State.
Illinois announced the hiring of Matt Bollant as its new head women’s basketball coach Wednesday morning. Bollant comes to Illinois after a successful five-year stint at Green Bay, where he coached the Phoenix to five straight Horizon League titles and four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. He replaces Jolette Law, who was fired following this month’s Big Ten tournament.
Illinois centerfielder Willie Argo became the program’s all-time stolen base leader in Tuesday night’s 16-7 defeat to Illinois State. Argo wasted no time breaking the nearly 30-year-old record, stealing his 84th career bag in the first inning. With the steal, Argo, a senior, supplanted Todd Schmitke (1983) atop the program’s record book.
For most baseball games, the introduction of the starting line-up is unremarkable. But last Friday, Illinois freshman infielder Michael Hurwitz and senior pitcher Nick Chmielewski had a little fun on camera. The duo donned a couple of mustaches and got into character as they introduced the starting line-up for their game against Nebraska. Watch the entertaining video now and see another memorable lineup rendition from last season in this post. Which one is better? Cast your vote.
March 26, 2005, forever will hold a special place in Illinois men’s basketball fans’ hearts. It was on this day, after all, that the top-ranked Illini pulled off one of the more memorable comebacks in NCAA tourney history (AP recap). Down 15 points with four minutes left in the Chicago Regional final against No. 3 seed Arizona, Illinois rallied all the way back to force overtime, where it carded an unforgettable 90-89 victory. Watch a video of the unbelievable comeback in this post.
All eight Big Ten women’s gymnastics teams have been chosen among the 36-team field to compete at NCAA Regionals on April 7, the selection committee announced on Monday. The Big Ten will be represented at five of the six regional sites.