Polian: Cap issues loom for Bears with Cutler contract decision

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Polian: Cap issues loom for Bears with Cutler contract decision

Juan Uribe 'never forgot what it meant to play' for White Sox

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Juan Uribe 'never forgot what it meant to play' for White Sox

In the few times he has returned to U.S. Cellular Field, Juan Uribe always makes sure to enter on 35th and Shields so he can catch a glimpse of his statue.

Even though he’s eight years and five teams removed, Uribe said Tuesday he fondly recalls his time with the White Sox. In a Game 2 victory on Monday, the Cleveland Indians third baseman homered against his former club for the first time ever in 25 career plate appearances.

Making only his third trip to U.S. Cellular since he left the White Sox for the San Francisco Giants in 2009, Uribe received a nice standing ovation when he batted for the first time.

“I never forgot what it meant to play here,” Uribe said. “They see me and for me it’s a lot of happy. I’m just comfortable when I play in Chicago. I’m a lot of happy, too. My family too. My family comes in when I play in Chicago. My family comes in and they come to see me.”

Uribe played five seasons with the White Sox and reached the postseason twice, including in his final season (2008). He since won a World Series with Giants in 2010 and has reached the postseason in each of the last three years, twice with the Los Angeles Dodgers and again with the 2015 New York Mets.

“Some people think I need to hit .300 or I need to hit .400 and then they are looking to win the game,” Uribe said. “When you do win, the city never forgets. The people never forget.

“The money, you can have it. But the win, you always remember. The people always remember what you do for this city. Look at what happened. I go to Chicago, I go to the Giants and they know me. A lot of people, they know Uribe for the World Series. They don’t know Uribe for how much money he’s making.”

Uribe not only enjoyed the warm welcome and the homer, he also had an opportunity to banter with fans above the home dugout throughout the contest. He said they very much remember the critical role he played on the 2005 World Series team, including throwing to first base for the final out of Game 4 — the moment memorialized on the statue.

And that’s why he doesn’t mind taking the long route into the ballpark when he could very easily go through the players’ entrance in left field.

“The fans they never forgot what you do here,” Uribe said. “For me, it’s unbelievable.

“Every time I come to the ballpark, I come that way and I see it. I tell people when they are in Chicago, ‘Go to the front and you’ll see me there.’”

Report: Illini to play VCU in Miami

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Report: Illini to play VCU in Miami

Illinois will be taking on VCU during the 2016-17 basketball season, according to a Tuesday report.

The game won't be played in Illinois or in Virginia, however. It will be played in Miami. For some reason.

Why the game will be played at the home of the NBA's Miami Heat remains to be seen, but it figures to be a tough test for the Illini.

The Rams were in last season's NCAA tournament field, advancing to the Round of 32, where they lost to eventual Final Four participant Oklahoma.

Illinois and VCU have never played each other in men's basketball. The Rams have been one of the more consistently good mid-major programs in recent years, playing in each of the last six NCAA tournaments and reaching the Final Four in 2011.

It was also announced that Illinois will play a non-conference game against North Carolina State as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Badgers' Nigel Hayes returning to Wisconsin for senior year

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Badgers' Nigel Hayes returning to Wisconsin for senior year

Nigel Hayes will be back at Wisconsin for his senior year.

Madison.com's Jim Polzin reported Tuesday that Hayes — who earned All-Big Ten First Team honors last season — will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and come back to the Badgers for the 2016-17 campaign.

Hayes is one of the latest Big Ten players to take advantage of new rules that allow underclassmen to test the NBA Draft process and work out with NBA teams without hiring an agent while still being able to return to school with their NCAA eligibility intact. The rules are undoubtedly beneficial for the players, who can learn more about their professional future and still take needed time to develop at the college level.

There had been talk that Hayes needed another collegiate season and that he wasn't quite ready for the NBA. Despite averaging 15.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season as one of the best players in the Big Ten, Hayes wasn't always consistent and saw his shooting numbers drop from his sophomore season. He shot 36.8 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from 3-point range last season after shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from 3-point range during the 2014-15 campaign, which culminated in Wisconsin's second straight trip to the Final Four.

That being said, Hayes' return is obviously a big deal for the Badgers, who will return their entire starting lineup and almost their entire roster in Greg Gard's first full season as head coach. Last season, with Gard taking over for a retiring Bo Ryan midway through the campaign, Wisconsin was still one of the Big Ten's best teams, turning things around and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. Hayes returns alongside Ethan Happ, Bronson Koenig, Vitto Brown and Zak Showalter in the starting five.

Hayes' return could make the Badgers the Big Ten favorite heading into 2016-17.