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RE: Basement Walls

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Scott,

I have never personally been involved in the design of basement walls for   
homes, but I know that non-retaining type of walls are also the norm in   
Minnesota where my parents live.  The only reasoning i can come up with   
is that horizontal forces are normally comparitively  low for structures   
in this region.  The only real worries are freeze-thaw cycles and the   
occasional stray tornado (The trailer-park terror).  I wouldn't imagine   
that Illinois faces too much in the way of seismic danger either, with   
the exception of the area very near the Mizzou border.  Salt Lake city   
might be a different story...

Not much help, I know, but just figured I'd let you know that the   
practice is commonly used elsewhere in the midwest.

Good Luck,
Wade Jensen