Illini Wonk
Friday, March 25, 2005
  Luther Head's Hamstring
Tomorrow night in the NCAA Tournament regional final, the Illinois Fighting Illini will play the Arizona Wildcats. The day before the game, an anxious Illini nation is focused on the hamstring of senior guard Luther Head.

Head "tweaked" his hamstring in practice on Monday, didn't practice at all on Tuesday and then practiced light on Wednesday. Illinois coach Bruce Weber said that Head was a game-time decision and according to Mark Tupper, Weber was ready to start Rich McBride.

In what his coach called "a gutsy performance," Head went on to play 33 minutes against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and had 12 points and 6 assists without a single turnover.

After the game on Thursday, Head said I can play. In a post to his blog tonight, Tupper says there’s no doubt in my mind Head will start and play as hard and long as he can.

This is obviously an important point for the 35-1 Illini. In the Chicago Sun-Times, Herb Gould noted that the status of Luther Head weighs heavily because he regularly has guarded an opponent's best perimeter player. Losing a starter would be especially crucial considering that the Illini have not had much production from their bench this year and in their last game the Illini reserves were scoreless.

Weber hasn't changed his starting five all season and he certainly doesn't want to start in the Region Final against a good Arizona team.
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