Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Basketball News

Three quick basketball items that may be of interest to our readers today:

1) In addition to signing junior college forward Rodney Alexander to a letter of intent yesterday, Illinois had additional news in the way of current power forward C.J. Jackson. C.J. is going to suit up for football practice and could make a switch to that sport (which he starred in during high school) or become a two sport athlete. This decision could potentially free up a 3rd scholarship for the 2008 Class.

With the signing of Alexander, Illinois only has two scholarships for the 2008 class at this time. Although it would be nice to have three to work with, as an Illini fan I am pleased with how the 2007 class has ended up. While there were disappointments along the way, Illinois still ended up with what I think will turn out to be five good to very good players with a nice blend of guards and big men. It should be fun to watch all of the young guys blend with our returning players and grow as a team.

2) The Big Ten is going back to an 18 game league schedule. This schedule change means there willl likely be two fewer non-conference games but that each team will play all but two of the league teams twice. You can argue whether this is good or bad but I would rather watch two Big Ten teams go at it than a Big Ten team pound a cupcake. While teams won't be able to pad their victory total anymore, I think this is a good thing in the long run for the conference and for teams trying to make the NCAA tournament.

3) The schedule change won't effect the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, however, and Illinois will play at Maryland this coming season. Let's hope that the Illini can pull off a victory and that the Big Ten Conference can finally win the overall challenge for a change.

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