Smile Politely

Illini basketball starts Sunday

Illini players patiently answered the same old questions for the buzillionth time Thursday afternoon. On this occasion, the answers referred to Sunday’s Orange & Blue Scrimmage (details below). If you want to read the actual questions and answers, look to any and all previous reports about Illini basketball, ever.


The really exciting part of the event came before the players arrived.

Victorian-era Überscribe Loren Tate played shootaround with’s Jack Lyman. There was a loose ball, follwed by a yellow blur. I tell no lie; Tate ran after it like fast. Do not cross this man. He has some steam left in him. (We’re looking at you, Craig.)

Completists will want to hear every single bit of Weber’s analysis, recherches du temps Purdue, etc.

He was so gracious with his time, SP needs two separate flash players to get it all.


Kevin Berardini continues to eat the scholarshipped Illini for breakfast.

On Thursday, Kevin scored high marks from his teammates in a wrestling match with Crandall Head. The contest resembled a rebounding drill, although I think the goal was to receive a pass at the high-post, and then get the ball to the basket. It doesn’t really matter what they were expected to do. What they did was brawl.

Crandall’s arms are as long as Kevin. He’s taller and heavier. But I don’t think anyone will outmoxie the little guy this year. This goes beyond team spirit. Kevin was a bristling, champing, spitting, floor-slapping madman.

“COME ON!!!!” he seethed, foaming.

This set a high bar for one onlooker, another walk-on hopeful whose name is not yet available for publicity purposes. But his prospective teammates call him “Canada.”


Smile Politely proudly announces two fan participation activities for the upcoming season.

The first challenges readers to accurately prognosticate the number of times Jim Turpin says “uh” during each week’s “Saturday Sportsline.” The closest guess wins, but winners must be within 50 “uh” of the grand total.

The Bruce Weber “there’s no doubt” contest will similarly track iterations of Coach Weber’s favorite space filler. Winners will keep a running tally from Sunday’s postgame through tip-off of the 2011 Final Four.

Details on Sunday’s scrimmage from the SID:

Tickets for Sunday’s 4 p.m. Orange & Blue Scrimmage are $10 and can be purchased in advance at or in person at the Assembly Hall. In addition to the scrimmage, the event will include a video and new player introductions, 3-point and dunk contests. Illini players and Coach Bruce Weber will hold a 45-minute autograph session following the scrimmage.

Parking is free.

The Orange & Blue Scrimmage will be streamed live on The stream will carry the video board feed from Assembly Hall, covered by the radio feed from WDWS. The stream is part of All-Access, available for $9.95 per month. The All-Access package includes live radio coverage of football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, baseball and other selected events as well as postgame football and basketball press conferences. It also includes live video streaming of many games not televised or streamed by any Big Ten television partner.

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