For one day, pink is the new orange, said Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber. The Illini will wear pink uniforms and shoes and play with a basketball highlighted with a pink swoosh and breast cancer awareness logo when Illinois hosts Indiana on Saturday. Illinois joined Oregon, BYU and Iowa State as the only schools wearing the specially designed gear by Nike.

For one day, pink is the new orange, said Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber.


The Illini will wear pink uniforms and shoes and play with a basketball highlighted with a pink swoosh and breast cancer awareness logo when Illinois hosts Indiana on Saturday. Illinois joined Oregon, BYU and Iowa State as the only schools wearing the specially designed gear by Nike.


Weber realized there might be a clash in colors at the Hall.


"Pink or orange is great,'' Weber said. "We'll take either one tomorrow.''


After the players wore the shoes during practice Thursday, Illinois unveiled the outfits during a press conference Friday.


"The players were really excited yesterday to see the shoes,'' Weber said. "I think they look cool. Definitely when we walk into the Hall, you'll take notice.''


The pink threads are part of the Coaches vs. Cancer suits and sneakers weekend, when coaches around the country wear gym shoes to promote cancer awareness. The pink Illini uniforms will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to Coaches vs. Cancer. The pink game shoes worn by the Illini won't be auctioned, because the players get to keep them.


"That's the first question we heard'' from the players, Weber said. "Can we keep them?''


Nike became aware of Weber's commitment to the cancer fund after Illinois raised nearly $50,000 by selling pink T-shirts as admission to Illini Madness preseason practices festivities prior to the 2007-08 season.


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