Illinois

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Following a 10-day break from match play, No. 8 Texas men’s tennis will begin its outdoor season against unranked Michigan State on Thursday at the Caswell Tennis Center. Thursday’s match begins a three-match run against Big Ten opponents for the Longhorns. Texas will face off against No. 4 Illinois on Saturday and No. 10 Ohio State on Tuesday.  

Texas comes into Thursday’s contest riding a four-match win streak, with all four victories coming against teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the ITA rankings. 

Senior Søren Hess-Olesen has been a standout during the Longhorns’ winning streak, climbing to No. 2 in the nation in singles — 11 spots higher than his preseason ranking. Hess-Olesen is currently undefeated this season, holding a record of 12–0 and the No. 1 singles spot for the Longhorns. Texas seniors Lloyd Glasspool and Adrien Berkowicz are the only other Longhorns to join Hess-Olesen in the national rankings, at No. 52 and No. 60 spots, respectively.

With Michigan State reeling from losses in three of its last four matches, Texas will look to find another win in its first outdoor match of the year. If they can secure the win, the Longhorns will continue their momentum in their highly anticipated matches against Big Ten powerhouses Illinois and Ohio State.

Millennial Latinos in the United States often struggle with identifying as both citizens of America and “Americans” as a result of racialization and exclusion, according to University of Illinois at Chicago professor Nilda Flores-González.

During a lecture at the Student Activity Center on Wednesday, Flores-González, an associate professor of Latin American and Latino studies, said she drew her conclusions from a study she conducted on the protestors involved in the surge of marches across Chicago in 2006 for immigration reform.

She interviewed 113 Latino millennials — people born between 1980 and 1995 — and asked questions about how they identify racially, and how their experiences may have affected these identities. Her research primarily focused on how Latinos identify in the “racial middle,” which encompasses the races other than black and white.

According to Flores-González, the majority of the Latinos she interviewed had experienced racism or had been stereotyped as “illegal” immigrants, which makes them feel unwelcome. Flores-González said she believes this is the reason why many millennial Latinos feel as though they have to choose between an American or Latino identity.

“We need to also pay attention to how the historical moments, coupled with the racial experiences are making Latinos and Latinas feel like they don’t really belong here,” Flores-González said.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are approximately 54 million Hispanics living in the country, which is roughly 17 percent of the population.

According to Flores-González, Latinos who grew up in predominantly white neighborhoods or in middle-class families are prone to labeling themselves as white. She said she believes this is a result of assimilation and the individuals trying to feel more American.

“Becoming American is not about becoming white,” Flores-González “It is not about downward assimilation, but instead it is about becoming Latino.”

Flores-González was invited to speak at the University as part of her application for a senior social scientist and associate professor position at the Center for Mexican American Studies. Luis Guevara, program coordinator for the CMAS, said the atmosphere of the University was not as welcoming to the Latino population when he first arrived in 1991 as it is now.                               

“I wouldn’t say it was hostile, but there were events that would happen that made it a stressful time,” Guevara said. “The University as an institution has worked diligently to foster a more welcoming environment for Latinos, African-Americans, Asians and different groups that make up the University.”                                       

Eric Bybee, a cultural studies and education graduate student who is Latino, said although there is racialization of his ethnic group, he feels comfortable on UT’s campus. 

“I think that UT, compared to other places, there is a very strong Latino presence compared to other places I’ve lived,” Bybee said. “My experience being here at UT, and part of the CMAS, has been one that has been very racially fulfilling.”

In this Monday, Sept. 22, 2014 photo, protesters stand in the back with signs during the University of Illinois’ Faculty Senate meeting in Urbana, Ill., where university Chancellor Phyllis Wise spoke about the decision not to hire professor Steven Salaita over his profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/The News-Gazette, Robin Scholz | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: Rathi is a student who has been involved in a campaign of UT students, staff and faculty against the implementation of Shared Services, which is part of the “Business Productivity” plan mentioned in this article.

Over the summer, Steven Salaita resigned from his tenured position at Virginia Tech to take up a faculty position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After Salaita readied himself to move with his family, ordered course books and had even been invited to the faculty welcome luncheon, he was informed by UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise that his appointment would not be submitted for what was supposed to be a symbolic confirmation by the Board of Trustees. Weeks later, Wise finally released a statement explaining the sudden rejection — her objection was to unspecified “personal and disrespectful words” that Salaita allegedly used, which contradict traditions of “civility.”

In August, Inside Higher Ed published its findings from an open records request for communications regarding the Salaita appointment, and they “show that Wise was lobbied on the decision not only by pro-Israel students, parents and alumni, but also by the fund-raising arm of the university.” The emails sent to Wise object to Salaita’s outraged tweets during the recent Israeli military invasion of Gaza — the invasion destroyed much of the occupied territory and killed over 2,000 Palestinians (disproportionately more children than adults). Tweets cited in the emails include: “Zionists, take responsibility: if your dream of an ethnocratic Israel is worth the murder of children, just fucking own it already.”

The criterion of “civility” that drove Wise’s decision has never been an accepted scholarly norm, as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has long held that such a criterion is used to “[ensure] homogeneity” and “threaten academic freedom.” The UIUC faculty search committee that hired Salaita, unlike Wise, included legitimate criteria such as peer and student evaluations from his eight years at Virginia Tech. These evaluations consistently (over 90 percent) attest not only to Salaita’s “knowledge of subject,” but also “concern and respect” for students, pre-emptively addressing Wise’s (illegitimate) concerns about “civility.”  In a statement of support for Salaita, AAUP noted that Wise’s overriding decision may also violate the academic freedom of those “Illinois faculty members who recommended hiring him.”

The anti-Salaita campaign was a concerted effort, as “most of the emails [to Wise] … are nearly identical, suggesting the use of talking points or shared drafts.” One email from a longtime donor states, “Having been a multiple 6 figure donor to Illinois over the years I know our support is ending,” and that “this is doubly unfortunate for the school” as he has “accumulated quite a balance sheet over [his] 35 year career.” The senior director of development for the University of Illinois Foundation, which handles fundraising and donor relations, forwarded to Wise “a letter complaining about the Salaita hire.” Moreover, a cover-up by UIUC is becoming increasingly apparent, as documents about the decision-making process are being withheld. Wise sent an email to the Foundation which noted that during a meeting with a major donor, “he gave me a two-pager filled with information on Steven Salaita and said how we handle this situation will be very telling.” The Electronic Intifada, a nonprofit news source on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a Palestinian perspective, FOIA’d this document, and was rejected with the dubious reason that “no records responsive to [the] request could be located.”

The rejection of Salaita is part of a wider campaign in academia against Palestinian solidarity. In March 2014, for example, Northeastern University suspended the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for their activism. SJP had been distributing “mock eviction” leaflets to raise awareness about Israeli expansion into the occupied Palestinian territories. Moreover, the administration launched a police investigation and threatened to expel involved students. However, students are fighting back against these anti-Palestinian politics. The SJP chapter was reinstated after, as The Electronic Intifada puts it, “an outpouring of condemnation by Northeastern SJP activists and supporters across the US.” TV news and syndicated radio program “Democracy Now!” reported that “thousands of academics have signed petitions calling for Salaita’s reinstatement, and several lecturers have canceled appearances in protest.” The Texas State Employees Union passed a resolution, submitted by UT communication studies professor Dana Cloud, in support of Salaita. The resolution notes that “all public employees should be able to speak their mind without fear of losing their jobs” and “labor should not abstain from movements for social justice.”

Students, staff and faculty at UT should be particularly concerned about donor-corporatization of the University and its effect on our community’s free expression. President William Powers Jr. has been touting the importance of the recently completed Campaign for Texas, a fundraising program that successfully raised $3 billion from donors. Infographics on the campaign’s website emphasize “the need for philanthropy,” and Powers has stated that this undergirds core academic projects such as “[helping] our faculty change the world through their research and scholarship.” Powers has long pushed for commercializing faculty, having advocated the January 2013 “Business Productivity” report which recommended restricting recruiting and funding to “commercially relevant activity among faculty.” That report was authored by 13 businesspeople, led by Accenture executive Steve Rohleder, who were given $1 million by the University for these recommendations. As Palestine solidarity activism continues on our campus, we must be vigilant of attempts by the increasingly corporatized UT administration to follow in UIUC’s censoring footsteps.

Rathi is a computer science honors junior from Austin.

Coming off a dominant victory over Michigan and a crushing defeat at the hands Illinois last weekend, Texas is competing in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship this weekend at The Met. This will be the team’s second time competing at the facility this season, after defeating Rice there in January.

The Longhorns are scheduled to play No. 4 Georgia this Friday. Following that match, they will compete against Ohio State and Florida on Saturday. Depending on their final scores, the team could possibly play Sunday and Monday as well.

With three-ranked doubles teams, three-ranked singles players and only one loss so far this season, Texas has a good chance to make a deep run at the national championships this weekend.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Texas’ victory last week over West Virginia wasn’t pretty, but it showed the team’s resilience. It showed how much heart this Longhorns team has. Unfortunately it also showed how many bum knees and Achilles tendons they have, too. Both running back Johnathan Gray and defensive tackle Chris Whaley, two leaders on the team, are out for the season. Despite that, I’m just not ready to bet against the Case McCoy magic yet. He continues to somehow find ways to pull out close games. Oklahoma State is 8-1, but they haven’t played any of the other big boys (Baylor, Oklahoma and, yes, Texas) in the Big 12 yet. It won’t be easy, but the Longhorns can pull off the upset at home.

Oklahoma State at Texas (+3)

 

Lock of the Week

Ohio State (-33) at Illinois     

Thanks to Florida State and Alabama, the undefeated Buckeyes are currently on the outside of the national championship picture looking in and that means they have an incentive to run up the score. In their last two games they have done just that, beating Penn State, 63-14, and Purdue, 56-0. Illinois has yet to win a Big 10 game and lost at home to Michigan State by 39 points three weeks ago. The Fighting Illini are ripe for the picking and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer isn’t above inflating the margin of victory to impress the pollsters and computers that decide who plays in the big game. Thirty-three is a big point spread, but the Buckeyes are fully capable of covering and have every reason to try and do so.

 

Upset Alert

Houston (+16) at Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater is a fantastic player, but the excitement surrounding his NFL prospects have caused his Louisville team to become overrated. This spread is way too high. The Cardinals only won by 14 points against Kentucky and Rutgers. They beat a winless Connecticut team by just 21 points last week. Houston is a sneaky good club. Their only losses are on the road against Central Florida, who beat Louisville on the Cardinals’ home turf, and at home by one point to BYU. The Cougars also demolished the same Rutgers squad that Louisville struggled against. Houston has a chance to pull off the upset outright, but even if they don’t, they definitely should at least come within 16 points. 

 

Darren’s record: 13-14 (.481)

Last week: 2-1

Both the women’s and men’s track and field team will be working under one set of coaches for the first time in program history and the merge has brought team unity.

Photo Credit: Eric Park | Daily Texan Staff

Being team-oriented has never seemed more appropriate than now for the Texas track and field/cross-country program.

“Team-oriented” is the phrase head coach Mario Sategna said he and his new coaching staff preach to their team. Few other words are more appropriate for a group that enters the first season as a conjoined program in school history.

No more separate men’s and women’s meetings, practices or other team gatherings. Instead, with the start of the cross-country season on Aug. 30th, the program officially began its new era as a single unit.

For Sategna, who had been an associate coach at Texas for 10 years before taking the head spot in June, the most critical thing is giving every one of his athletes an opportunity to get acquainted with the new staff.

“The main thing for me right now, is to actually take a little bit of a step back on the day-to-day coaching piece and allow my new assistants to take the reigns,” Sategna said. “I think that way when they are hands-on, they’re going to get to know everybody a lot sooner.”

Sategna described a scene two weeks ago when the men and women were put into groups while lifting weights. The long-tenured coach said that as he watched, he noticed how both the men and women cheered for each other throughout the workout. The sight, which would have been uncommon before this fall, should become routine for the program. 

Associate coach Tonja
Buford-Bailey, who was hired by Sategna from the University of Illinois this summer, has her experience with coaching both men and women. Her time as the women’s track and field head coach and men’s assistant coach at Illinois gives her knowledge the Longhorns value in the early stages of the change. It’s a program that, according to an article by the Statesman in June, finally joined the 228 out of 268 Division I schools that feature combined men’s and women’s track and field teams. 

“I had my experiences with [coaching both men and women] at Illinois when I started working with the men’s sprinters, and I just feel like everyone really enjoyed [working together] a lot,” Buford-Bailey said. “It gets kind of boring when you have just girls and just guys, so it’s good to mix it up a bit… You can see that there is a really great team camaraderie, pushing each other.”

With the ultimate goal being a “winning mentality,” both Buford-Bailey and Sategna agree that success during the cross-country season will set the tone for the rest of the year. As the cross-country squad sets to meet those responsibilities this fall, there won’t be a shortage of support from their shorter distance teammates. 

Reigning outdoor shot-put national champion Ryan Crouser said that when the cross-country Big 12 Championships begin at Baylor in November, many team members plan to take a bus to Waco in support of each other — team unity is key.

“The same thing will happen at the end of [track and field] meets, when you see the 4X4 relays,” Crouser said. “Before we would have the men’s team and women’s team at separate sides of the track, but now we will be together.”

For sports with such individually minded natures, the Longhorns are determined to honor what their new program promotes and make its team mentality most important. Their next task begins Friday night, when the cross-country unit competes at the Ricardo Romo Classic in San Antonio.

“This is a big year for [Texas track and field/cross country],“ said Sategna.” More importantly, for the rest of the UT community, it’s important that they see what a special time this is going on at Texas, especially within athletics.”

Head coach Jerritt Elliott picked up his 350th career win and 300th since arriving at Texas after splitting a pair of matches at the State Farm Classic in Champaign, Ill.

In their first game after the team’s victories over No. 1 Penn State and No. 2 Stanford at home, Texas dropped a match in straight sets to un-ranked Arizona State. The Sun Devils (8-1) withstood 21 kills from junior outside Haley Eckerman as they used three big runs in three games to down the No. 2 Longhorns.

“Our focus is making sure the team does not have big heads and think they are ‘all that,” Elliott said before heading to Champaign. “We have got to get back, ready to battle because both teams that we are competing against are more than ready for us.”

But the Longhorns were unable to even take a game against a good, but less-talented Arizona State squad who dropped their first match of the season hours before to No. 14 Illinois. The Longhorns had 16 hitting errors and seven service errors, hurting them in the defeat.

The Sun Devils won 18-25, 23-25 and 21-25.

But just as they have all season, the Longhorns responded in the tournament capper, knocking off Illinois in five sets (25-23, 23-25, 25-13, 24-26, 15-11) as freshman Chiaka Ogbogo came up big in her Longhorn debut, providing a spark to compliment the proven veteran Eckerman’s steady game.

Ogbogo started the Longhorns off strong in the deciding fifth set, getting a kill and a block to push the Texas lead to 5-2, but the Longhorns wouldn’t surrender winning 15-11.

It was Eckerman who carried the Longhorns, though, showing why she is a favorite for the National Player of the Year. She tallied a season-high 23 kills (giving her 44 for the weekend).

Bailey Webster posted 17 kills of her own, backing up why Elliott believes he has the best outside hitters in the nation.

“We got a unique situation with two of the best outsides in the country,” Elliott said after last week after defeating Stanford.

In game one, the Longhorns rallied on a string of Illinois errors, to overcome a four-point deficit and tie the game at 13. In a game that saw 11 ties, Webster finally gave Texas the win with a pair of kills.

In game two, though, it was Texas who surrendered the lead, losing after being up 19-15. The next two games weren’t as close as Texas and Illinois built comfortable early leads to send the match to the fifth set, which Texas ultimately won.

The Longhorns finish their tough non-conference schedule Sunday against No. 12 Nebraska.

“We weren’t going to go undefeated with the games I scheduled,” Elliott said at a Wednesday press conference. “The important thing I’m taking away from this is trying to get our team ready for the Big 12 and get back to the Final Four.”

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

After knocking off the top two teams in the country, the road for Texas holds more challenge this weekend.  

The second-ranked Longhorns will travel to Illinois to take on Arizona State and No. 14 Illinois. Despite a climb back up the rankings, the Longhorns still have no room for relaxation.

“Our focus is making sure the team does not have big heads and think they are ‘all that,’” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We have got to get back, ready to battle because both teams that we are competing against this weekend are more than ready for us.”

Although this year’s temperament is different from last season’s national championship team, it shows an ability to thrive in the clutch with a five-set win over Penn State and a four-set victory over Stanford. One-hundred and two kills combined in those matches verifies the potency of the Texas offense, but changes need to be made to sustain that level of play.

“Both of those games could have gone either way,” sophomore Amy Neal said. “There are some areas in the game that we still need to work on because clearly we were a little rough at times, but it helps our confidence knowing we can be really good.”

The gray areas in the Longhorns’ success last weekend were plays at the net and their defense on the middle of the floor. Stanford tallied eight blocks to seven for Texas, which snapped the team’s streak of three-consecutive matches of out blocking opponents.

Similar to the third set against Penn State, the second set against Stanford saw Texas surrender 18 kills while being outhit .273 to .146. The rowdy environment at Gregory Gym did a lot to help Texas shake off slow starts, but that luxury will be absent this weekend.

“We just have to keep up our energy and keep that focus level,” sophomore Molly McCage said. “When we’re put in stressful environments, we can still come out of it with a win.”

All negatives aside, the Longhorns should carry an abundance of confidence into this weekend’s matches.

Haley Eckerman, the 2012 Player of the Year, and Bailey Webster continue to buoy the Texas attack, already amassing 58 and 61 total kills respectively. Young players such as Neal, with her 25 kills, and freshman Chloe Collins, who holds a team-high 98 assists, have given the team a needed boost to push toward another
successful season.

Three of the Longhorns’ five matches this season have come against ranked opponents, and the Fighting Illini bring the same challenge at home in Urbana-Champagne, Ill. Texas has outhit its opponents .239 to .234 thus far, which tells the tale of competition.

If Texas can continue its relentless attack this weekend, its chances at claiming another NCAA title become more convincing.

For the state of Florida in this year's NCAA Tournament, good things are coming in 3's.

Miami became the third team from the Sunshine State to advance to the Sweet 16 when the second-seeded Hurricanes beat No. 7 seed Illinois, 63-59, at the Erwin Center on Sunday Night. They joined Florida, who also punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 with a victory at the Erwin Center on Sunday, and Florida Gulf Coast, who beat Miami on Nov. 13 and who became the first No. 15 seed to ever reach the Sweet 16.

"The state of Florida has great basketball teams," Miami guard Shane Larkin said. "Florida Gulf Coast was a team we played early in the season and they beat us. A lot of people gave us grief for that. But now it's just showing that they're a great team... For us, Florida and Florida Gulf Coast being in the Sweet 16 is a great feeling and it just proves that Florida has great basketball teams just like everybody else in the country."

Neither Miami (29-6) nor Illinois (23-13) led by more than seven points in what was a closely contested game throughout, one that sent the Hurricanes to their first Sweet 16 since 2000. With Illinois leading, 55-54, Larkin stepped back and drilled a deep three-pointer to put Miami on top, 57-55, with a minute left to play.

"That's the type of player that he is," Miami forward Julian Gamble said. "We know he's going to will us to victory. He's our leader on the court. To know that we have him on our side and don't have to play against him is a huge advantage for us because I would hate to have to play against a guy like that."

Larkin finished with 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting from the floor and 3-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc, along with five assists. Miami, who got a game-high 21 points on 7-for-14 shooting and 5-for-10 shooting from three-point range from Rion Brown, will face No. 3 seed Marquette in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night.

"I kind of had a mindset of shooting that shot when I came off the ball screen, so I just had a lot of confidence," Larkin said. "I just wanted to go out there and make a big play for my team and I guess luck was just on my side when I shot it."

D.J. Richarson missed a three-pointer for Illinois on the ensuing possession and a loose ball was tipped out of bounds and the Hurricanes were given the ball. Replays appeared to show that the ball was last touched by Miami's Kenny Kadji but, without the ability to review the play, the referees denied the Illini possession.

"You saw the same video that I did," Illinois head coach Jim Groce said. "It's a hard game to officiate. Both teams are physical, both teams desiring the same thing. 50/50 calls are hard sometimes. That's how he saw the play in live speed and I certainly respect the call that he made."

Miami went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the game's final 36 seconds to secure the four-point victory.

"How can you really determine whose hand it went off of?" Gamble said. "From the replay, yes, it did look like it came off of Kenny's hand... I think being a referee is the most difficult job, by far, to not really affect the game but knowing that you have to call the game. In the heat of the moment, you see what you see."

Despite being up 16 points at halftime, Illinois found itself having to battle back against a tough Colorado team late in the second half in the second round of the East Regional on Friday night. Illinois would eventually fashion a 9-3 run over the final five minutes to defeat Colorado 57-49.

“That game was about as strange a game that I have ever been associated with,” Illinois head coach John Groce said.

The Illini shot a paltry 31-percent from the field for the game, and at one point in the second half missed 14 straight field goals. Guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson scored 17 and 14 points respectively to lead their team to a gritty win to advance to the third round against Miami on Sunday.

“My shot wasn’t falling so I knew I had to get to the free throw line more,” Paul said. “That’s March Madness, you have to find ways to win these types of games.”

Colorado didn’t fare much better shooting the ball, especially in the second half, but 15 turnovers and two fouled out players allowed Illinois to mount a comeback and eventually take the game over. Askia Booker scored 14 points for Colorado and Andre Roberson flirted with a double-double with his nine points and eight rebounds.

“We were pushing it down their throats,” Booker said. “But give credit to Illinois for knocking down open shots when they needed to in order to win.”

The Buffaloes went on a 21-0 run after halftime and held a five point lead, but could not stave off the late run by Illinois.

“For the early portion of the second half [the Buffaloes] were the tougher team,” Groce said. “I’m anxious to see how they grow moving forward.”