Joe Sports

Joe Sports

"Mitch Henderson, our most athletic player..."

Posted by Lindsey on Wed, 03/16/2011 - 11:44
If you've been watching the NCAA Tournament for more than a minute, then you know about Princeton's 1996 first-round upset of defending champion UCLA. Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was Pete Carril's top assistant. Northwestern assistant Mitch Henderson played a huge role in the win and was immortalized in picture at the buzzer --- similar to Daily Herald photographer Mark Welsh's brilliant picture of Michael Jordan after he won his last title in Utah. Jordan photo: OK, so MH and MJ didn't look exactly the same. But if you want to see the Mitch Henderson photo and read a riveting, insider-y story about that Princeton-Utah game, then click here:,8599,2059230-1,00.html LW

With Maniscalco aboard, a peek at Illini depth chart

Posted by Lindsey on Tue, 03/15/2011 - 22:14
According to reports from and, Bradley senior Sam Maniscalco is transferring from Bradley to Illinois at the end of the school year. Thanks to a lightly used NCAA rule, Maniscalco can transfer without sitting out a season because he’ll get his degree in four years from Bradley and then select a graduate program at Illinois that the Peoria school does not carry.

Why Loyola didn't keep Jim Whitesell

Posted by Lindsey on Mon, 03/14/2011 - 13:04
Loyola didn’t hire M. Grace Calhoun as athletic director last month to keep things status quo. If that wasn’t apparent before, it became clear Monday with the news that men’s basketball coach Jim Whitesell is out after seven seasons. While the gregarious Whitesell embraced Loyola and the whole Jesuit school experience, the Ramblers finished eighth in the 10-team Horizon League each of the last four seasons. No other conference school has been in the bottom three all four years. Whitesell finishes with a 109-107 record at Loyola and joins Bradley’s Jim Les and NIU’s Ricardo Patton on the sidelines since March began.

History lesson: With Weber vs. Self a possibility...

Posted by Lindsey on Sun, 03/13/2011 - 23:13
If you've seen the NCAA Tournament bracket, then you know Illinois can meet Kansas in third-round play Sunday. That would be the first meeting between Bruce Weber and Bill Self in the eight years since Self left for Kansas and Weber took over Illinois. And that reminds me of the Dec. 13, 2003, night in Champaign when Weber explained what he'd done to bring the Self era to an official close. Here's one of Weber's quotes I didn't get into my stories: "It's kind of like getting dumped by a girl. You want to get her out of your mind, but then she keeps walking by." As a public service, here are my stories from that night.

How the NCAA/NIT bubbles sleep tonight

Posted by Lindsey on Sun, 03/13/2011 - 00:54
Utah State’s win over Boise State in the just-concluded WAC final gives Illinois and Northwestern extra hope in their respective postseason pursuits. If Boise had won, it would have taken away an at-large NCAA berth. That, in turn, would have pushed an NCAA team into the NIT and knocked NU down another notch there. So let’s review. There are four conference finals Sunday (the number next to the record is their Pomeroy ranking through Friday): ACC: North Carolina (26-6; 14) vs. Duke (29-4; 2), 12 p.m. (ESPN) Atlantic 10: Dayton (22-12; 95) vs. Richmond (26-7; 49), 12 p.m. (Ch. 2) SEC: Kentucky (24-8; 9) vs. Florida (26-6; 17), 12 p.m. (Ch. 7) Big Ten: Ohio State (31-2; 1) vs. Penn State (19-13; 46), 2:30 p.m. (Ch. 2)

Updating the NCAA and NIT bubbles

Posted by Lindsey on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 18:09
Saturday’s results haven’t done much to help Illinois and Northwestern. Dayton and Richmond entered Championship Week behind Illinois in the pecking order, but now one of them will claim the Atlantic 10’s automatic bid. They meet at 12 p.m. Sunday. And with Penn State advancing to the Big Ten title game, it seems unlikely that the NCAA Tournament committee will put together two brackets: One that assumes a Penn State win over OSU and another that assumes a loss. I’m thinking the Nittany Lions are in. Lastly, keep an eye on the WAC final at 9 p.m. between Utah State and Boise State. The Aggies are in regardless, but Boise can’t get in without a win. The Broncos would knock out a bubble team. As for Northwestern, its NIT chances became more narrow when

Attn: Best and brightest Big Ten assistants

Posted by Lindsey on Sat, 03/12/2011 - 13:54
Just chatted with Northern Illinois athletic director Jeff Compher. It seems even more clear that, similar to UIC when it hired Wisconsin assistant Howard Moore in August, NIU seeks a talented Big Ten assistant to lead its program. Of course, Compher didn’t directly say “Big Ten” or “assistant.” But let’s see if you draw the same conclusions as me. “I’m looking for someone experienced on the Division I level, a good recruiter, who understands the Midwest and a preference for Chicago,” Compher said. “Someone with a lot of energy who’s willing to be out and visible in the community.

After 11 hours inside Conseco Fieldhouse...

Posted by Lindsey on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 22:05
Raise your hand if you watched the Northwestern AND Illinois games Friday. If so, which team looked most like one that yearned to play in the NCAA Tournament --- that deserved to play in the NCAA Tournament? I’m tempted to say Northwestern wins my vote, but I’m wondering if season-long and pre-game expectations play a role in my verdict. Perhaps postgame access has a role, too. YEAR-LONG EXPECTATIONS

Quick review of Illinois' utter collapse

Posted by Lindsey on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 16:38
Brandon Paul hit a 3-pointer with 8:33 left to give Illinois a 51-39 lead. Everything seemed swell. There was zero tension and excitement in Conseco Fieldhouse. Then it all felt apart in almost unprecedented fashion. Since you’re probably not going to bother to rewind and watch the final eight minutes of Illinois’ 60-55 loss to Michigan, I’ll run down the possessions for you. --Demetri McCamey misses a 3. Mike Davis gets fouled on rebound. Davis then sets an illegal screen after the timeout. --Jereme Richmond turns over the ball. --Richmond turns over the ball and it leads to a fast-break layup. --Brandon Paul misses a jump-stop in the lane, but Illini get ball back. --Paul misses a 3-pointer. --Mike Tisdale misses open 3-pointer.

Prepping for Northwestern-Ohio State

Posted by Lindsey on Fri, 03/11/2011 - 11:07
Let’s get the official numbers out of the way first. 1. Northwestern is 0-16 in its history against No. 1 teams. 2. Northwestern is 0-7 against Top 25 teams this year. Lost 11 in a row against ranked teams overall. 3. Northwestern is 1-17 against Ohio State during Bill Carmody’s 11-season tenure. 4. Northwestern has just eight healthy scholarship players for today’s 11 a.m. Big Ten quarterfinal --- Cobb, Capocci and Ryan are out again --- and it’s a stretch to call junior forward John Shurna healthy. So how can the Wildcats turn this ESPN affair into must-see TV? Obviously everyone expects Northwestern to repeat its plan from their 58-57 home loss on Jan. 29, when Carmody’s fellas ran the offense as slow as it can go.