Illinois’s Joseph Bertrand showed off some acrobatics on Wednesday night against Georgia Tech, including the twisting shot in this video. Up 62-58 in the second half, Bertrand takes the ball almost the length of the court, leaps a good distance from the rim, twists in the air, and banks the shot in off the glass. And he drew the foul. Bertrand finished with 15 points, one of four Illini players in double digits.
It was a hard days work for Illinois football coach Tim Beckman on Friday. Or perhaps, he really felt like bonding with standout linebacker Jonathan Brown. Either way, the first-year head coach capped Friday’s practice with a plunge in the ice bath. No joke. And from the picture @IllinoisFootball tweeted, it sure seemed as though Beckman enjoyed the cold temperatures. See the photo in this post.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve asked an athlete to autograph? Maybe one of his or her game-worn sweatbands. Or your forehead. Well, an Illinois fan recently asked Illini offensive lineman Graham Pocic to sign his baby. OK, not the actual baby, but the baby’s miniature Illinois jersey. It made for a terrific photo op. See the picture, courtesy of the Fighting Illini Football Facebook page, in this post.
It was Illinois Day on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, and as part of the festivities, first-year Illinois football coach Tim Beckman sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch. See photos, courtesy of @IlliniFootball, of Beckman taking part in the Wrigley Field staple in this post.
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.
If you missed the nightcap of our BTN Super Wednesday doubleheader, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, you missed quite the display from Illinois’ Joseph Bertrand. On a few occasions, it was as if he was putting on his own dunk contest. Two of Bertrand’s better dunks can be seen in this post. As for the one posted here, well, let’s just say the Illinois sophomore nearly jumped out of the gym. BTN announcer Gus Johnson loved it so much, he was going crazy during the replays. It was that good – even though it came in a 67-62 home loss. Don’t miss Bertrand’s other nice slam, a putback of a missed jumper, in this post.
The 1988-89 Big Ten basketball season was one for the ages and the league was stacked with great teams and players. Indiana was a powerhouse and Illinois would wind up in the Final Four. As the Hoosiers and Illini prepare to play tonight, (8 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go) look back at this incredible moment from their 1989 game at Indiana.
Tuesday’s Michigan State-Illinois game was far from a thing of beauty. In the final minutes of the first half, in fact, ESPN play-by-play guy Mike Tirico begged, “This half NEEDS to end!” As inept as the offenses were in the 42-41 decision at Assembly Hall, there were a couple highlights: Meyers Leonard’s alley-oop and Brandon Paul’s poke.
Illinois’ Brandon Paul had a night to remember Tuesday. The junior exploded for 43 points and eight 3-pointers, both career highs, in Illinois’ upset victory over No. 5 Ohio State. He also played his share of defense, with a career-high four blocks and two steals. Basically, he was a star on both ends of the floor. Never was that more evident than on a late sequence where he hit a fadeaway 3-pointer and stuffed preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Jared Sullinger on the ensuing play. Watch the sequence now. Also, check out another one of his blocks and the Twitter reaction to his big night in this post.
It’s no secret that Illinois’ Meyers Leonard is blessed with a lot of athleticism. The 7-foot-1 big man moves and leaps unlike most guys his size, and he displayed it once again Wednesday at Northwestern. Late in the first half – a frustrating one for Leonard and the Illini – the breakout sophomore jumped out of the gym on a one-handed slam. Look at how high he got up there. And listen to that rim rattle! As BTN color commentator Shon Morris put it: “I think that rim is going to file assault charges.” Watch the dunk now and see his game-sealing block in this post.
Everyone’s heard of Alcatraz, but have you ever toured the San Francisco landmark? Illinois football players did just that while in California preparing for Saturday afternoon’s Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl versus UCLA. Go behind the scenes with the Illini as they tour the famous military prison in an IlliniProductionsHD YouTube video in this post.
Illinois sophomore Meyers Leonard has been turning heads all season long, but now that the Big Ten season underway, the rest of the Big Ten is about to see what this guy is all about. In Tuesday night’s Big Ten opener against Minnesota, the athletic 7-footer flashed his unusual skills on a highlight-reel alley-oop. Leonard set a pick, rolled to the hoop, and threw down a perfect pass from guard Brandon Paul with relative ease. Watch the play now.
Prior to Tuesday night’s Big Ten opener at Assembly Hall, Illinois coach Bruce Weber allowed BTN cameras inside the Illini locker room for his pregame speech. The behind-the-scenes access resulted in some terrific footage. Watch Weber’s motivational words moments before Illinois took the court against Minnesota in the first Big Ten game of the season. As for the game, the Illini topped the Gophers in double overtime.
It’s the Holiday season, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a Christmas song or two to get you feeling all festive? A cast of Illinois athletes might change your view on Christmas music. In a recent IlliniProductionHD YouTube video, quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, breakout basketball player Meyers Leonard and a group of other Illini combine to sing Jingle Bells. Watch and hear their rendition in this post. So, what do you think?
If you’re fielding a dunk contest of only 7-footers, there might not be a better contestant than Illinois’ Meyers Leonard. The 7-foot-1 sophomore is an absolute freak of an athlete. People his size aren’t supposed to run the floor and move as smoothly and easily as he does. See what we’re talking about in this video of Leonard bringing down the house at Assembly Hall with a rim-rattling slam. Pretty impressive, huh?