CSN, CSNChicago.com to carry LIVE opening ceremonies coverage of the 2012 Cubs Convention (Fri, Jan. 13 at 5:00 p.m.)

CSN, CSNChicago.com to carry LIVE opening ceremonies coverage of the 2012 Cubs Convention (Fri, Jan. 13 at 5:00 p.m.)

COMCAST SPORTSNET & CSNCHICAGO.COM TO CARRY LIVE OPENING CEREMONIES COVERAGE OF THE 2012 CUBS CONVENTION

Comcast SportsNet & CSNChicago.com to air LIVE Opening Ceremonies coverage on Friday, January 13 at 5:00 PM -- hosted by David Kaplan

Gail Fischer to provide complete Convention coverage throughout the weekend on SportsNet Central and CubsTalk;

CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney and CubsTalk blogger Tony Andracki to provide playercoachesfront office interviews, features, live Tweets & more

Chicago, IL (January 10, 2012) -- Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs, is ready to start up the 2012 Cubs season in a big way with exclusive, LIVE Opening Ceremonies coverage from the 2012 Cubs Convention, which is being held downtown this weekend (January 13-15) at the Hilton Chicago.

On Friday, January 13 beginning at 5:00 PM, Comcast SportsNet & CSNChicago.com will provide viewers with every thrill-packed moment of the conventions opening ceremonies featuring introductions of Cubs playerscoachesfront office executives, a live interview with new Cubs RF David DeJesus following the opening ceremonies, video montages and much more. Comcast SportsNets 2012 Cubs Convention Opening Ceremonies coverage will be hosted by Cubs PrePost Game Live hostChicago Tribune Live host David Kaplan.

In addition, Gail Fischer will file reports for SportsNet Central (6:30 PM, 10:00 PM, 10:30 PM and midnight) and CubsTalk on CSNChicago.com during the weekend featuring interviews with Cubs players, coaches and fans. Plus, CSNChicago.coms Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney and CubsTalk blogger Tony Andracki will also provide viewers with comprehensive, real-time online coverage featuring numerous playerscoachesfront office executive interviews, stories, fan reaction, photos and videos. Fans can follow Mooneys Cubs Convention updates all weekend long via Twitter @CSNMooney, along with Fischer @GAILFISCH, Andracki @TonyAndracki23 and CubsTalk @CubsTalkCSN.

Still streaking: Fire beat Dallas for fourth straight win

accam-525.jpg
USA TODAY

Still streaking: Fire beat Dallas for fourth straight win

The tough test the Chicago Fire was supposed to receive Thursday didn’t exactly materialize the way it looked on paper, but the Fire still picked up a fourth straight win.

The Fire were leading after a frantic first 10 minutes and rode out a subdued second half to pick up a 2-1 win against an FC Dallas team, which sat six players who have started a majority of the team’s matches.

Nemanja Nikolic scored his 11th goal of the season, adding to his league lead, and it took less than three minutes to get it. Nikolic redirected Brandon Vincent’s cross from the left into the far post for an early Fire lead. Vincent and Nikolic connected for a similar goal eight days ago against Colorado.

Dallas (5-2-4, 19 points) didn’t take long to respond. In the sixth minute, Joao Meira scuffed a clearance and then Johan Kappelhof’s attempted clearance was blocked right into the path of Roland Lamah who tapped the ball in.

The crazy start continued with David Accam cutting in on his right foot from the left wing and scoring with a shot from outside the box to give the Fire (7-3-3, 24 points) the lead again. The ball skipped under the arms of Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz.

After that wild start neither team managed a shot on target until Arturo Alvarez fired a shot at Seitz in the 89th minute. Nikolic had a penalty kick saved in the final minute of added time.

With another game against Houston on Sunday, Dallas manager Oscar Pareja elected to sit a number of regulars. Kellyn Acosta, Walker Zimmerman and leading goal-scorer Maxi Urruti are among Dallas’ best players and were not included in the Dallas matchday roster. Michael Barrios, Maynor Figueroa and Hernan Grana also have started a majority of Dallas’ matches this season and did not start on Thursday. Barrios did enter in the 74th minute.

The Fire now have the second-best record in MLS after finishing a stretch of four games in 13 days with a 4-0 record. The Fire next play June 4 at Orlando.

Jalen Coleman-Lands reportedly transferring away from Illini

Jalen Coleman-Lands reportedly transferring away from Illini

The exodus out of Champaign continues, with Jalen Coleman-Lands reportedly the latest Illinois basketball player to leave the team in the aftermath of this spring's coaching change.

Coleman-Lands, perhaps the highest-rated recruit brought in during the John Grcoe Era, is set to transfer away from the program after two seasons with the Fighting Illini, per a report from Scout.com's Evan Daniels.

As a sophomore this past season, the sharpshooting Coleman-Lands played in all 35 of the team's games and started 15 of them. He averaged eight points a game and shot 38 percent from 3-point range.

Coleman-Lands was a big deal when he was recruited out of the state of Indiana. Landing a highly touted Hoosier has been an historic rarity for the Illini, but Coleman-Lands picked Groce's program over offers from Arizona, Indiana, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, UCLA, Vanderbilt and Xavier, among others. He was a four-star recruit and ranked by Rivals as one of the top 40 prospects in the Class of 2015.

While Coleman-Lands was at times electric from behind the arc, he wasn't always consistent, hence his moving in and out of the starting lineup.

Coleman-Lands' departure is the latest in a busy offseason of roster transformation for the Illini, something not too unexpected given the decision to fire Groce after a largely unsuccessful five-year tenure and replace him with Brad Underwood. While Underwood is earning rave reviews from outside critics and has already made a huge recruiting splash in luring Illinois' Mr. Basketball, Mark Smith, to the Illini, it's understandable that players who committed to Groce would want to rethink things.

D.J. Williams preceded Coleman-Lands in transferring out of Champaign. And half of the blockbuster recruiting class Groce assembled prior to his firing — four-star recruits Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett — opted to play elsewhere. All that on top of the team's three leading scorers from last season — Malcolm Hill, Maverick Morgan and Tracy Abrams — exhausting their eligibility in Groce's final year.

Coleman-Lands' decision means Illinois will return just five scholarship players from last year's roster: Jaylon Tate, Kipper Nichols, Te'Jon Lucas, Leron Black and Michael Finke.

But there are reinforcements coming in Underwood's first season leading the program. Smith will be joined by a pair of freshman guards recruited by Groce: Trent Frazier and Da'Monte Williams. Plus, just Wednesday, the team announced the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork, who averaged 19 points a game last season.

Still, as is often the case with college basketball coaching changes, this is a dramatic evolution of a roster in just a couple of months.

And to top things off, Illinois fans might not even see Coleman-Lands leave the state. Internet chatter in recent days has mentioned that Coleman-Lands could be transferring to DePaul, where his high school coach was recently hired as one of Dave Leitao's assistants.