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Illinois Fighting Illini

1. Bruce Weber Does Not Do Gay Photography. If you re ever bored, we encourage you to Google "Bruce Weber," the name of the Illini's beloved (and duck-voiced) head coach. You won't be directed to his page on; instead, is the official Web site of an entirely different Bruce Weber. That Bruce Weber is a New York City-based photographer who "features the beauty of youth in male nude photography." So be not confused: Not the same guy.

2. When Dee Brown Is Done With You, You Won t Be Able To Shit Straight For A Week. The Illini's senior guard very well might be the most popular player in team history; ironically, he has thrived under the coaching of Weber, whose hiring he initially publicly skulked about. But when times are difficult, he turns to ... Bad Santa. After Illinois' lone regular season loss to Ohio State last season, Brown went home with then-roommate, now-Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams to watch the film, which he classifies as one of his favorites. "I had to get all my anger out," he said.

3. The Illini Might Be Responsible For The Dick Vitale We Now Know. In 1987, an Illini team led by Ken Norman and Doug Altenberger received the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament and were predicted to reach the Final Four by an up-and-coming broadcaster named Dick Vitale. In the first round, Illinois faced little-known Austin Peay, the champions of the Ohio Valley Conference and most famous for their fans' chant for 1970s player James "Fly" Williams: "The Fly Is Open ... Let s Go Peay!" Back then, early rounds of the NCAA tournament were shown on ESPN, and in the second half, with Peay down to the Illini by only three points, Vitale appeared in ESPN's studio and bellowed, "THERE S NO WAY ILLINOIS LOSES THIS GAME! IF ILLINOIS LOSES, I'LL STAND ON MY HEAD!" Sure enough, Austin Peay pulled off the 68-67 upset, and, months later, Vitale visited the school's Tennessee campus and successfully stood on his head for 10 seconds. The headstand caused an extreme rush of blood to Vitale's brain and reduced his mental acuity to that of a retarded dolphin. — Will Leitch


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