Illinois junior center Mike Tisdale doesn't understand what the big deal is. Back home in Riverton, just outside of Springfield, lots of his friends hunt and fish. Yet there aren't many starting centers in major college basketball who love the outdoors as much as working in the paint. A Big Ten Network crew filmed Tisdale shooting his bow at his home Wednesday for an episode of “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2010,” that will air Sunday at 7 p.m.

Illinois junior center Mike Tisdale doesn't understand what the big deal is. Back home in Riverton, just outside of the state capital, lots of his friends hunt and fish.


Yet there aren't many starting centers in major college basketball who love the outdoors as much as working in the paint. A Big Ten Network crew filmed Tisdale shooting his bow at his home Wednesday for an episode of “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2010,” that will air Sunday at 7 p.m.


"It was funny,'' Tisdale said. "They were pretty amazed that I played basketball and hunt and fish. Being from Springfield, that's a normal thing. For guys from Chicago area or (the Washington, D.C. area), people don't see it as much.''


While freshman forward Tyler Griffey and junior forward Bill Cole also have some fishing stories, Tisdale is the only guy with a hunting license on the Illini basketball roster. Basketball season conflicts with deer hunting, but Tisdale found time once or twice in the past couple months to sneak off with his bow to favorite spots such as the woods near his house and Lake Sangchris.


Tisdale met the BTN staff at Riverton High School and introduced them to teachers, coaches and administration. Then the production crew arrived at the Tisdale home. He was filmed shooting his bow at a target 20 yards away in the backyard with a bow built specially for him to fit his long arms.


"I did pretty well,'' Tisdale said. "It was awkward having a camera following you around, doing everything you do for a day.''


Once the crew left, Tisdale introduced Griffey to a Springfield tradition – the horseshoe, an open-faced hamburger covered with french fries and smothered with cheese sauce. The concoction is a staple at Springfield restaurants, but Tisdale's mother, Robin, has her own favorite recipe.


Illinois (12-7 overall, 4-2 in the Big Ten) plays at Northwestern (13-5, 2-4) Saturday (7 p.m., BTN).


BIG APPLE: A trip to the beach will have to wait. Illinois has agreed to play in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament in November with the finals in Madison Square Garden. Texas, Pittsburgh and Maryland are the other marquee teams in field, coach Bruce Weber said.


Illinois would get two home games before the two games played in the Manhattan. To make room for Coaches vs. Cancer, Illinois pushed back plans for a trip to Cancun and an exempt tournament to the 2011-12 season. Illinois last played in Madison Square Garden during the 2003-04 season.


"We just felt the opportunity to play in that event and the competition were important,'' Weber said.


PUSHING SHURNA: As a committee member for USA Basketball in the selection process for the under-19 basketball team that eventually won the gold medal in the world championships last summer, Weber pushed Northwestern sophomore forward John Shurna.


Weber represented the Midwest and pushed the player from the Big Ten, but Shurna did the rest during tryouts.


"Shurna had solid stats,'' Weber said. "When he was out at Colorado Springs, he earned the spot. He played really well there. That was a big confidence builder for him, feeling like he could compete there.''


Shurna averages 17.1 points and 6.9 rebounds.


John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.