Multisport notebook, with items on football, men's basketball, volleyball and more.
Earning first-team all-Big Ten in a vote by the media and second-team in the coaches vote only eased part of the pain Monday for Illinois linebacker Brit Miller, who ended his career without a bowl trip in his senior year.
"The bowl is the end all and be all,'' Miller said. "It's what you want. I'm sure in time I'll be proud. When I look back five to 10 years from now and knowing I was selected to elite company, not making a bowl game will be disappointing only for a while.''
Illinois slid down the Big Ten standings, and the all-conference teams reflected Illinois' disappointing finish.
Junior defensive back Vontae Davis was the only Illini named first-team all-Big Ten in voting by the coaches and media. Receiver Arrelious Benn and Miller were also named to the first-team by the media.
Benn, Miller and left tackle Xavier Fulton were second-team picks by the coaches. Quarterback Juice Williams, center Ryan McDonald and Fulton were second-team picks by the media.
Guard Jon Asamoah, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui and defensive end Derek Walker earned honorable mention from the media and coaches. McDonald and Williams also were honorable mention from the coaches.
Illinois finished with a 5-7 record overall and a 3-5 mark in the Big Ten.
Shootout at Hall
What's become an annual Shootout at the Hall will feature high school boys basketball players who have signed, committed to the Illini or remain on the recruiting short list. The seven games are set for Dec. 13 at Assembly Hall.
Gurnee Warren senior guard Brandon Paul and Sterling senior guard Joseph Bertrand signed letters of intent earlier this month. Waukegan junior forward Jereme Richmond, Chicago Crane junior guard Crandall Head and Robinson junior center Meyers Leonard already committed to the Illini.
Meanwhile, recruiters have their eyes on Rock Island sophomore point guard Chasson Randle and Chicago Curie sophomore shooting guard Wayne Blackshear.
The lineup is Stanford Olympia vs. Mahomet-Seymour at 10:30 a.m., followed by Robinson vs. Champaign St. Thomas More at 12:15 p.m.; Peoria Central vs. Crane at 2; Rock Island vs. Waukegan at 3:45; Chicago North Lawndale vs. Peoria Manual in the rematch of the Class 2A state title game at 5:30; Warren vs. Chicago Curie at 7:15; and Sterling vs. Champaign Centennial at 9.
Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students. They are available at the Assembly Hall north box office and by calling 217-333-5000.
Picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big Ten standings, Illinois already assured no worse than a tie for third with two matches remaining. The Illini (22-7 overall, 13-5 in the Big Ten) may need only one more victory to host first- and second-round matches in the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois hasn't played in the NCAAs since 2004. The Illini haven't hosted a match for advanced in the tournament since reaching the Sweet 16 in 2003.
"We'd been a nationally ranked program and kind of fell off the map in 2004,'' said coach Don Hardin. "We lost seven players because of health issues. It's taken time to recruit and replace the talent. This helps me understand that our program is heading in the right direction.''
Outside hitter Laura DeBruler earned offensive player of the week in the Big Ten for the third time this season and fifth in her career after the sophomore had 17 kills and 17 digs in a win over Purdue Wednesday and 21 kills and 12 digs while defeating Michigan State Saturday. Meanwhile, sophomore middle blocker Johannah Bangert had nine blocks each against Purdue and Michigan State.
Women’s cross country
Behind sixth-place finisher Angela Bizzarri, Illinois finished 10th at the NCAA championship Monday in Terre Haute, Ind. The Illini became the second school to place in the top 10 over the last four years.
Bizzarri's finish tied the school's best performance at the NCAAs set by Marianne Dickerson in 1981. A junior, Bizzarri earned All-America honors for the third straight season. Senior Katie Engel was 22nd.
In other news
The Illinois women's soccer team fell 3-0 to No. 1 North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 on Saturday.
John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.