Chicago Sun-Times
With Sun-Times sports reporter Herb Gould

September 2011 Archives

Mike Locksley, who was Ron Zook's first offensive coordinator at Illinois, was fired Sunday as New Mexico head coach. It wasn't a surprise, considering that Locksley went 2-26 in two-plus seasons with the Lobos.
In addition, it was a difficult tenure marked by numerous off-the-field embarrassments, including a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former administrative assistant and an altercation with an assistant coach that prompted UNM officials to give Locksley a 10-day suspension.
The last straw came on Saturday, when New Mexico lost 48-45 in overtime Saturday to Sam Houston State before an announced crowd of 16,313, the Lobos' smallest home crowd in almost 19 years.
It's a sad day. When Locksley was at Illinois, he was an exceptional recruiter who spearheaded the Illini's Washington, D.C., pipeline, which included future NFLers Vontae Davis and Arrelious Benn. As Illinois' offensive coordinator, he also did an excellent job of harnessing the skills of quarterback Juice Williams, who led the Illinois to the Rose Bowl in 2007.
When Locksley was an Illinois assistant, I thought he had a chance to be a very successful head coach. While in Champaign, he was personable, a fine recruiter and a coach who seemed to know his Xs and Os.
When he took the New Mexico job, though, that was a head-scratcher. He was ranging far from his East Coast roots to a program that had been struggling before he got there.
In hindsight, a move to a mid-major program replacing a successful coach who was moving up would have made more sense. Barring that option, going East would have given him a better chance.
None of that matters now, though. Locksley's dismissal is another reminder of what a tough business coaching is.

The full Illinois men's basketball schedule has been announced for the 2011-12 season.

The schedule:


 DAY DATE OPPONENT LOCATION TIME TV

Sunday Oct. 23 Orange & Blue Scrimmage Assembly Hall 4 pm

Tuesday Nov. 1 Wayne State (Exh.) Assembly Hall 7:30 pm BTN.com

Monday Nov. 7 Quincy (Exh.) Assembly Hall 7:30 pm BTN.com

 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday Nov. 11 Loyola-Chicago Assembly Hall 8 pm BTN.com

Monday Nov. 14 SIU Edwardsville % Assembly Hall 7:30 pm BTN.com

Thursday Nov. 17 Lipscomb % Assembly Hall 8 pm TBD

 Tuesday Nov. 22 vs. Richmond % Cancun, Mexico TBD TBD

Wednesday Nov. 23 vs. Rutgers/Illinois State % Cancun, Mexico TBD TBD

Sunday Nov. 27 Chicago State Assembly Hall Noon BTN

 Tuesday Nov. 29 at Maryland # College Park, Md. 6:30 pm ESPN

Saturday Dec. 3 Gonzaga Assembly Hall 2:15 pm ESPN2

Wednesday Dec. 7 St. Bonaventure Assembly Hall 8 pm TBD

Sunday Dec. 11 Coppin State Assembly Hall 7 pm TBD

 Saturday Dec. 17 vs. UNLV Chicago, Ill. (United Center) 4 pm BTN

Monday Dec. 19 Cornell Assembly Hall 7 pm TBD

 Thursday Dec. 22 vs. Missouri * St. Louis, Mo. (Scottrade Center) 8 pm ESPN2

Tuesday Dec. 27 Minnesota Assembly Hall 6:30 pm BTN

 Saturday Dec. 31 at Purdue West Lafayette, Ind. 3 pm ESPN2

Wednesday Jan. 4 at Northwestern Evanston, Ill. 6 pm BTN

Saturday Jan. 7 Nebraska Assembly Hall Noon BTN

Tuesday Jan. 10 Ohio State Assembly Hall 8 pm ESPN

 Thursday Jan. 19 at Penn State University Park, Pa. 8 pm ESPN/ESPN2

Sunday Jan. 22 Wisconsin Assembly Hall 1 pm BTN

 Saturday Jan. 28 at Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. 7 pm BTN

Tuesday Jan. 31 Michigan State Assembly Hall 6 pm ESPN

Sunday Feb. 5 Northwestern Assembly Hall 2 pm BTN

 Thursday Feb. 9 at Indiana Bloomington, Ind. 7 pm BTN

Sunday Feb. 12 at Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich. Noon CBS

Wednesday Feb. 15 Purdue Assembly Hall 7:30 pm BTN

 Saturday Feb. 18 at Nebraska Lincoln, Neb. 4 pm BTN

Tuesday Feb. 21 at Ohio State Columbus, Ohio 6 pm ESPN

Sunday Feb. 26 Iowa Assembly Hall 5 pm BTN

Thursday March 1 Michigan Assembly Hall 6 pm ESPN/ESPN2

 Sunday March 4 at Wisconsin Madison, WIs. TBD TBD


Here's the portion of  the 2011-12 Illinois men's basketball season that has been completed, primarily nonconference games and conference games that will be featured on television. The rest of the Big Ten schedule has not been released yet.


 DAY DATE OPPONENT LOCATION TIME TV
Sunday Oct. 23 Orange & Blue Scrimmage Assembly Hall 4 pm
Tuesday Nov. 1 Wayne State (Exh.) Assembly Hall TBD TBD
Monday Nov. 7 Quincy (Exh.) Assembly Hall TBD TBD
 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Friday Nov. 11 Loyola-Chicago Assembly Hall TBD TBD
Monday Nov. 14 SIU Edwardsville % Assembly Hall TBD TBD
Thursday Nov. 17 Lipscomb % Assembly Hall TBD TBD
 Tuesday Nov. 22 vs. Richmond % Cancun, Mexico TBD TBD
Wednesday Nov. 23 vs. Rutgers/Illinois State % Cancun, Mexico TBD TBD
Sunday Nov. 27 Chicago State Assembly Hall TBD TBD
 Tuesday Nov. 29 at Maryland # College Park, Md. 6:30 pm ESPN
Saturday Dec. 3 Gonzaga Assembly Hall TBD TBD
Wednesday Dec. 7 St. Bonaventure Assembly Hall TBD TBD
Sunday Dec. 11 Coppin State Assembly Hall TBD TBD
 Saturday Dec. 17 vs. UNLV Chicago, Ill. (United Center) TBD TBD
Monday Dec. 19 Cornell Assembly Hall TBD TBD
 Thursday Dec. 22 vs. Missouri * St. Louis, Mo. (Scottrade Center) 8 pm ESPN2
Saturday Dec. 31 at Purdue West Lafayette, Ind. 3 pm ESPN2
Tuesday Jan. 10 Ohio State Assembly Hall 8 pm ESPN
 Thursday Jan. 19 at Penn State University Park, Pa. 8 pm ESPN/ESPN2
Tuesday Jan. 31 Michigan State Assembly Hall 6 pm ESPN
 Sunday Feb. 12 at Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich. Noon CBS
Tuesday Feb. 21 at Ohio State Columbus, Ohio 6 pm ESPN
Thursday March 1 Michigan Assembly Hall 6 pm ESPN/ESPN2
 Sunday March 4 at Wisconsin Madison, Wis. TBD TBD
Thu.-
 
The ESPN portion of the Big Ten men's basketball schedule was released Tuesday.
Illinois will play at Purdue on Dec. 31, and be featured in several other high-profile games, including both meetings (Jan. 10 anf Feb. 21) with Ohio State, and its Jan. 31 trip to Michigan State



 





Date
Time (ET)GameNetwork
Tue, Dec 279 p.m.Wisconsin at NebraskaESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Sat, Dec 314 p.m.Illinois at PurdueESPN2 / ESPN3.com
 6 p.m.Ohio State at IndianaESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Sun, Jan 17 p.m.Penn State at NorthwesternESPNU
Tue, Jan 37 p.m.Michigan State at WisconsinESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Thu, Jan 59 p.m.Michigan at IndianaESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Tue, Jan 109 p.m.Ohio State at IllinoisESPN / ESPN3.com
Thu, Jan 127 p.m.Wisconsin at PurdueESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Tue, Jan 177 p.m.Michigan State at MichiganESPN / ESPN3.com
Thu, Jan 199 p.m.Illinois at Penn StateESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Sat, Jan 21NoonPurdue at Michigan StateESPN / ESPN3.com
Tue, Jan 247 p.m.Michigan at PurdueESPN / ESPN3.com
Thu, Jan 267 p.m.Nebraska at IowaESPNU
 9 p.m.Indiana at WisconsinESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Sat, Jan 282 p.m.Purdue at NorthwesternESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Tue, Jan 317 p.m.Michigan State at IllinoisESPN / ESPN3.com
Thu, Feb 27 p.m.Nebraska at NorthwesternESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Sat, Feb 42 p.m.Ohio State at WisconsinESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
 3 p.m.Penn State at IowaESPNU
Tue, Feb 79 p.m.Purdue at Ohio StateESPN / ESPN3.com
Thu, Feb 97 p.m.Wisconsin at MinnesotaESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
 9 p.m.Iowa at NorthwesternESPNU
Sat, Feb 111 p.m.Nebraska at Penn StateESPNU
 6 p.m.Michigan State at Ohio StateESPN / ESPN3.com
Tue, Feb 149 p.m.Ohio State at MinnesotaESPN / ESPN3.com
Thu, Feb 167 p.m.Wisconsin at Michigan StateESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN.com
 9 p.m.Iowa at Penn StateESPNU
Sat, Feb 189 p.m.Ohio State at MichiganESPN / ESPN3.com
Tue, Feb 217 p.m.Illinois at Ohio StateESPN / ESPN3.com
Thu, Feb 239 p.m.Wisconsin at IowaESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Sat, Feb 259 p.m.Northwestern at Penn StateESPNU
Sun, Feb 261 p.m.Wildcard - TBDESPN / ESPN3.com
Tue, Feb 287 p.m.Michigan State at IndianaESPN / ESPN3.com
Wed, Feb 299 p.m.Iowa at NebraskaESPNU
Thu, Mar 17 p.m.Michigan at IllinoisESPN or ESPN2 / ESPN3.com
Sun, Mar 41 p.m.Wildcard - TBD


ESPN / ESPN3.com
 
 
llini linebacker Houston Bates is the Big Ten freshman of the week, conference  officials announced. The redshirt freshman from Covington, La., had two tackles for a loss, including a sack, and recovered a fumble in Illinois' 33-15 victory over Arkansas State Saturday.
``I wanted to to exert some energy and I did,'' Bates said after the game. ``I'm definitely in the system now. I'm ready to play.''
Bates, who's listed behind sophomore Jonathan Brown at weakside linebacker, is part of a necessity-dictated youth movement in the Illinois linebacker corps.
``I've been saying since spring I couldnt wait to see him play,'' coach Ron Zook said. ``He loves to hit.''


There was a good vibe coming from Champaign on Sunday, the first day after an opener since 2006 that the Illini could bask in the glow of a win.
On top of that, the injury report was encouraging.
Akeem Spence (ankle), Michael Buchanan (knee), A.J. Jenkins (quadriceps) and Reilly O'Toole (shoulder) are sore, but aren't expected to miss more than a precautionary day or two of practice time to heal up.
``We even had no one cramp up,'' said Zook. ``I don't know that I've ever played or coached in a game where we had no one cramp up.''
In what he also believes is a personal first, Zook was pleased that Illinois had no penalties in its 33-15 victory over Arkansas State. It was Illinois' first penalty-free game since a 1993 contest vs. Wisconsin.
``That's a tribute to the coaches,'' Zook said. ``We've been demanding and these guys want to please. And the officials did a nice job of letting them play on both sides.''
THE REILLY FACTOR: Zook has no qualms about burning the redshirt year of true freshman quarterback O'Toole, who injured his shoulder when he drilled during mopup work.
``We're going to get Reilly on the field as much as we can, to get him ready,'' Zook said. ``God forbid, but if something were to happen to Nathan [Scheelhaase], we're going to need him and Miles [Osei, a sophomore backup]. We all think Reilly can help us win, so let's get him ready to go.''
O'Toole said he's good either way, playing or redshirting, and Zook clearly wants him to play.
``I'm concerned about winning games right now,'' Zook said. ``I think he can help us. I don't want guys to want to redshirt. You want guys that expect to come in here and play, and he's earned the chance to do that.''




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