Illini Wonk
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
  Growing Fame
Illini Wonk thought maybe, just maybe, that eight days without a game might bring a small break in the 24-7 coverage of the Illini...and couldn't have been more wrong. With the Illini atop the Associated Press Poll for a 13th straight week, the unrelenting coverage reached its crescendo today with Dee Brown on the cover of Sports Illustrated (subscription required). The cover shows Dee striking the pose that Illinois fans have come to love and players around the country have begun to copy. Another article in the same issue of SI even mentions Dee's rising Q rating.

The Local Spotlight & the Jealous Onlookers

Jeremy Rutherford leads a trio of St. Louis Post-Dispatchers in reporting on the local attention being paid to the Illinois Fighting Illini. Unfortunately for the Post-Dispatch, not all of their readers appreciate the amount of print being devoted to the Illini. In a letter to the editor St. Charles resident (and Missouri fan) Keath Lackey wants to know when it became the The Illini Post-Dispatch? and asks when did St. Louis become part of Illinois?

To quote a prominent politician, Keath I feel your pain and will try to fill the Missouri coverage void in your paper. Here's a story that might interest you: Quin to resign and join Denver Nuggets (via Yoco: College Basketball).

Nothing recruits like #1

The half-dozen staff the Chicago Sun-Times had covering the Illini wasn't enough so they had Jennifer Jones write about the impact of thirteen weeks at #1 on the Illinois basketball recruiting machine. According to Jones, The ultimate marketing genius could not present a better image than Illinois has right now from a recruiting standpoint.

Political Piling On

Apparently the only people who aren't having trouble getting tickets to Illinois home basketball games are some Illinois politicians (Dave McKinney has the dirt here in the Chicago Sun-Times). Although the politicians may be heading to Champaign in droves, according to Grant Wahl they're losing a popularity contest with Dee Brown, the Governor of Champaign whose profile is higher than that of any Illinois politician not named Hastert or Obama -- and he's rapidly gaining on those two.

Fame, yes...but immortality?

Wahl hinted at it in the SI article, but Lindsey Willhite openly discusses the possibility that immortality awaits the Illini at the end of this season. Why? Because, if they can run the table, they will have won more games in a single season than any team in NCAA history.

Illini News Bits

...With little uncovered Illini trivia remaining, Marlen Garcia of the Chicago Tribune reveals the significance behind Williams' and Brown's tattoos...Adam Rittenberg interviews coaches of previous in-state greats and finds that some think this Illini team is the best college team ever in the state of Illinois...On his blog, Mark Tupper looks at the potential path for the Illini in the Big Ten Tourney...Coach Bruce Weber was interviewed on FSN Across America (bottom left. What's left? Nightline? Saturday Night Live?)...
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