Illini breaking in new marketing slogan

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“ILLINOIS. OUR STATE. OUR TEAM.” will be displayed within advertising and marketing campaigns around the state.

The Illini will probably no longer be taking shots at Northwestern and their “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” slogan. Hopefully, that nonsense is over with the new Illinois re-brand

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Illini star Brandon Paul breaks jaw in open gym session

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Illini guard Brandon Paul will have to carry the load for Illinois college basketball next season. Especially now that Meyers Leonard is gone to the NBA (most likely the Milwaukee Bucks with the #12 pick). BP dropped 43 in the season’s biggest win over Final Four team Ohio State, but he was still largely inconsistent, and committed way too many turnovers.

Paul will need to be the go-to guy in new coach John Groce’s first season. And his offseason preparing for that role just suffered a major setback.

From BTN:

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Illini partnering up with Chicago White Sox, Fire

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On the heels of yesterday’s deal with the Chicago White Sox, the University of Illinois and Chicago Fire Soccer Club have formed a cross-promotional partnership where Illini fans will receive special offers for Fire events, including pre-arranged behind-the-scene tours of Toyota Stadium and unique events like breakfast in the clubhouse.

Illini fans who purchase Fire season tickets by visiting here, will see 20 percent of the proceeds benefiting the University of Illinois Athletics IFUND. The purpose of the IFUND is to cultivate and prepare Illinois student-athletes to be leaders in industry, business and community.

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’11-’12 Illini Bare Disturbing Resemblance to ’98-’99 Team

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Bruce Weber has his 2011-12 Fighting Illini in real good shape to make the NCAA Tournament, with his third big, signature win coming just the other night over Michigan State. Yet he’s on both the hot seat and the bad side of Illini Nation. (Much more on this in a quickly upcoming post) Why?

Style points. Illini basketball is “sexy” alright, sexy as Camryn Manheim or Kathy Bates.

Their 42-41 win over MSU was the fewest points the program has scored in a win since 1946! Even though this teams look destined to hit Black Jack (21 wins) when the regular season ends, they still have an alarming amount of similarities to the 1998-99 team coached by Lon Kruger that set the school record for losses by going 14-18.

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Illini Hoops Want More Defense Behind Leaders Richardson, Paul

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One of the biggest reasons the Illini fell well short of preseason expectations last year was their lack of defensive heart and intensity. It isn’t like a Bruce Weber coached team to not defend, and last year Illinois lost way too many games because their inability to get stops down the stetch and in crunch time.

Especially on the road, Illinois would dig deep holes for themselves right off the bat. Later, they would score enough to catch up, but their failures on the other end kept them from closing the gap.

This season Weber wont have to deal with the constant motivational issues with Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis, psychological issues with Mike Tisdale and off-the-court isseus with Jereme Richmond. In a sense there’s addition by subtraction. Illini best defender, D.J. Richardson is back, and he along with Brandon Paul, the other only juniors on a team with no seniors, will be expected be the leaders.

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Troy Pollard, Jay Prosch Add to Illini RB Depth

While Illinois’ rushing offense has remained dominant, the Illini are doing it by committee this year rather then relaying on one dominant runner like they did in 2007 (Rashard Mendenhall) and 2010 (Mikel Leshoure). Four different Illini have over 200 rushing yards on the season, and all four have scored at least one rushing TD.

Senior RB Troy Pollard (a runner in the Daniel Dufrene, Rocky Harvey mold) leads the Illini ground attack with a team-high 260 yards on only 25 carries (10.4 ypc). A fifth-year senior, Pollard (nicknamed “Bucket of hair” for obvious reasons) ran for a career-high 133 yards on 14 attempts (9.5 ypc) last week against Western Michigan, marking his second 100-yard effort in the last three games (101 vs. South Dakota State on 9/10).

He provides the “lightning” in the “thunder and lightning” type backfield approach. Freshman Donovonn Young is the thunder.

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Wolverines, Illini Enter Top 25; Buckeyes, Spartans Drop Out

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The Big Ten saw two teams drop out of the national polls this week; only to be replaced by two different teams. The Michigan Wolverines, who were on the cusp of the rankings last week, entered for the first time this college football season at #22.

Fresh off their 31-3 pasting of their little sister Eastern Michigan from slightly down the road, the Wolverines will take on their mentor’s former employer in the San Diego State Aztecs. Let the Brady Hoke Bowl begin.

And the Illinois Fighting Illini, who came in with zero total votes in both polls the previous week checked in at #24. Their HUGE win over #18 Arizona State.

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