UI police prepping for possible campus celebration

Mar. 29—CHAMPAIGN — University of Illinois police will beef up their presence Saturday night as the men's basketball team tries to book its first Final Four trip since 2005.

Spokesman Pat Wade said "it's a good problem to have. The crowds so far have been celebratory, respectful and free of any significant issues. We know that can change as the Illini go deeper into the tournament."

The Illini play defending champion UConn at 5:09 p.m. CDT Saturday in Boston. The winner advances to the Final Four in Glendale, Ariz.

After Thursday's win against Iowa State, hundreds of students celebrated at the Alma Mater statue.

Wade said UI police "are prepared to scale up our crowd control as needed, and we have contingency plans in place."

"We want people to be able to celebrate and enjoy themselves, as long as it's done in a safe way that is respectful of each other and our community," he added. "And that's exactly what we've seen so far."

"This historic run is an important part of the Illinois experience, and one that our students and community will remember for a long time. We want those memories to remain good ones."