Although Ohio State took care of its business yesterday against Purdue to win the Big Ten championship outright, I’m pretty happy with how the Illini have been playing. Dee Brown looked great against Michigan State on Saturday and we look like we’re peaking heading into the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. Heck, even Frank the Tank nemesis Dick Vitale took some time during ESPN’s fifty-network coverage of the Duke-UNC game (I completely understand the need to televise this game, but was it really necessary to show it on every single ESPN outlet using different camera angles?) to say that Illinois was the team to watch out for in the NCAA Tournament. Plus, the Illini represented at the Academy Awards last night: University of Illinois graduate Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best Director for “Brokeback Mountain.” That’s got to be a good sign.
Anyway, my favorite stretch of the sports year starts this week. The Big Ten Tournament, the NCAA Tournament, Opening Day for baseball, and the Masters all come right after the other in rapid succession. Some Illini success on top of all of that would make it even sweeter.