ILLINOIS OPENS WITH WIN OVER ALABAMA STATE: Rayvonte Rice scored 22 points and had nine rebounds in his debut to lead Illinois to a season-opening 80-63 win over Alabama State on Friday.
Rice is a Champaign native but spent two seasons at Drake before transferring to Illinois.
GRANT LEADS NO. 21 IRISH OVER MIAMI (OHIO): Jerian Grant scored a career-high 26 points to lead No. 21 Notre Dame to a 74-62 win over Miami (Ohio) in the season opener for both squads.
NEW-LOOK HOOSIERS ROLL PAST CHICAGO ST.: Jeremy Hollowell scored 16 points, and Noah Vonleh finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds in his college debut as Indiana overwhelmed Chicago State 100-72.
The Hoosiers won their 16th consecutive season-opener and their 29th straight home opener, though this time they did it with a completely revamped lineup.
PURDUE EDGES NORTHERN KENTUCKY: Ronnie Johnson had 18 points and five assists to lead Purdue to a 77-76 victory over Northern Kentucky in the season opener for both teams.
MICHIGAN RAISES BANNER, BEATS UMASS-LOWELL: Glenn Robinson III (Lake Central) scored 15 points, and Spike Albrecht (Crown Point) scored five, and No. 7 Michigan pulled away in the second half to beat Division I newcomer UMass-Lowell 69-42 Friday night. Michigan raised its Final Four banner from last season before the game. Michigan was without star big man Mitch McGary (Chesterton), who missed the game because of a lingering back problem.
DAWSON HELPS NO. 2 SPARTANS OPEN WITH WIN: Gary Harris scored 20 points and finished with a career-high 10 rebounds, and Branden Dawson (Lew Wallace) had 12 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, helping No. 2 Michigan State rout McNeese State 98-56 in a tuneup for the Spartans' next game against top-ranked Kentucky.
HUNGRY HOOSIERS READY TO GET ON TRACK VS. ILLINOIS: It's been a month since Indiana (3-5, 1-3 Big Ten) last won a game. It's been six years since the Hoosiers last qualified for a bowl.
After last weekend's bungled finish against Minnesota, players and coaches are eager to make amends. The Hoosiers' next chance comes today against Illinois (3-5, 0-4), which looks like it's stolen Indiana coach Kevin Wilson's playbook.
Both teams throw first. Both offenses score points by the dozens. Both defenses give up more than 32 points per game and both coaches are trying to get their programs bowl-eligible.
The winner on Saturday will end a losing streak — Indiana has lost three straight, Illinois has lost 18 consecutive conference games — and move within two wins of that magical sixth win.
NO. 24 IRISH FACE ANOTHER TEST AT PITT: Though 24th-ranked Notre Dame (7-2) is out of the national title mix, if the Irish can win out, they're in the hunt for a BCS bowl bid.
Meanwhile, their opponent today, Pittsburgh (4-4), continues to search for an identity in coach Paul Chryst's second season.
Close games have been the norm over the last five meetings. All five have been decided by six points or less, including two in overtime. That would seem to favor the Irish, who have a way of finding a way under coach Brian Kelly. Notre Dame has won 10 straight games decided by a touchdown or less, including a 38-34 escape against Navy last week.
DENG, BOOZER LIFT BULLS OVER JAZZ: Luol Deng scored 19 points, Carlos Boozer added 18 and the Bulls snapped a two-game skid with a 97-73 win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
GEORGE KEEPS PACERS PERFECT: Paul George scored 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter, and the Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 91-84 to improve to 6-0 and match the best start in franchise history.
Roy Hibbert added a season-high 20 points and seven rebounds as the Pacers remained the NBA's lone undefeated team. The Pacers improved to 6-0 for the first time since the 1970-71, when the club played in the ABA.
JOHNSON WINS POLE FOR PHOENIX: Jimmie Johnson won the pole Friday for the penultimate race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
The five-time NASCAR champion turned a lap of 139.222 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to earn the top starting spot for Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Matt Kenseth will start 14th in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Around the horn
The Valparaiso girls basketball team scrimmages Warsaw at 11 a.m. today. Admission is a canned good, which will be taken to a local food pantry. ... The Purdue Calumet women’s basketball team (2-1) defeated Clarke 93-87 in the opening day of the Mount Mercy Classic on Friday.