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#AskTCR Mailbag: Forgotten Questions Edition


This is a special edition of the #AskTCR Mailbag because while looking something up yesterday I noticed that I had a whole host of questions from readers sent to me a month ago that I completely forgot about. And they were good questions too! Questions that should be answered, so that's exactly what I'm going to do.

So this weekend I'm going to break the mailbag up into two parts. Today I'm going to answer the forgotten questions and on Sunday I'll answer the questions you've been sending in to me this week. The result will be so many lives made better.

Now, if you have questions of your own you'd like to see answered and want to know how you go about getting them in for the #AskTCR Mailbag while hoping I don't forget about them....

There are two ways to ask The Champaign Room your questions. You can tweet them at us on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTCR -- it just makes it easier to keep track -- or you can email them to us at And if you've got a personal question and you're worried about your privacy, just tell us. Well change your name to Tom Crean when we publish it on the site. And remember, you can ask us ANYTHING. It doesn't have to be about Illinois or even sports.

Let's get to the questions before I forget them again.

This is an excellent question, and it's a shame I forgot all about it. Now, if Lord Of The Flies taught us anything it's that while they'll all work together at first, eventually chaos will ensue. Glorious, glorious chaos. So what will happen? Well, I think we can be relatively certain that the first coach the rest of the coaches turn on will be Tom Crean. He's the Piggy of this situation.

He's got glasses and nobody likes him. He will be killed and eaten by the rest after a week.

And while Tom Crean will keep the coaches fed for a while, he won't last forever. Nor will he taste very good. So eventually the coaches will all turn on each other as well, but instead of worrying about what each coach would do, let's worry about the one that matters to us.

I think that based upon their history together, John Groce would team up with Thad Matta. There's safety in numbers, and teaming up with Matta is the best thing for Groce to do. Now here's something you probably can't tell by looking at the two of them, but Thad Matta is only five years older than John Groce.

That's right, Matta is 46 and Groce is 41.

And although I don't think Matta is in as good a physical shape as Groce, their youth is to their advantage. Especially when you look at the age of their Big Ten brethren. Not including the now deceased Tom Crean, the average age of the rest of the Big Ten coaches is 52.75 with Chris Collins being the youngest at 39 and Bo Ryan the oldest at 65.

Well, let's be realistic here. Chris Collins should not be counted. Northwestern has never made it to the island in its history and there's no reason to think Northwestern has made it now. It got to the smaller, NIT island before giving up and waiting to die.

So now the average age of the remaining coaches against Matta and Groce are 54.71. Those are some old ass men, and one by one Groce and Matta pick them off until just the two of them remain. Then, miraculously, a helicopter shows up to find Groce and Matta on the island alone. The two of them are then rescued and neither bothers to tell the pilot about Chris Collins on NIT Island.

It's really hard to know for sure at this point. I feel like next season can go in either direction, which is usually the case when your team is going to be as young as the Illini will be next year. Now, if guys like Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill step right in and become contributors while Jaylon Tate, Maverick Morgan and Austin Colbert provide depth, the Illini are a team that could surprise people.

More realistically, though, if the Illini get back to the tournament next season -- and I do mean IF when I say IF -- I think they'll be in the same range they were this season. Somewhere between a 7 and a 12 seed, with a ceiling of a 4 or 5 seed should the freshman excel.

But I think it's important for Illini fans to temper expectations and realize that next year will be more of a transitional year than anything. Yes, the Illini had success in Groce's first season, but he had quite a few seniors on the team to work with. That won't be the case next year as Joseph Bertrand will be the only senior on the roster that was here last year.

It's hard for me to describe his style since I never really saw him play at Drake. What I do know by looking at his statistics at Drake is that he's not exactly a great shooter, but he's strong and he uses that strength to get to the free throw line. He led the team in scoring with 16.8 points per game despite the fact he was only a 43.6% shooter and made only 24% of his threes.

He got his points by taking that big body of his into the lane and drawing fouls, as he drew 5.9 fouls per 40 minutes played. A rate that was good enough to rank him 76th in the nation that season. He also made 70% of his free throws. For the sake of comparison, Brandon Paul got to the line more than any other Illini last season, and he drew 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes.

Rice also showed to have a knack for rebounding, as he pulled down 5.8 boards a game, which is good for a 6'4 guard. He was the second-best rebounder on the team, with an offensive rebound rate of 4.6% and a defensive rebound rate of 16.2%. He also averaged nearly 2 steals per game.

Now I don't think Rice will be able to match those numbers with the Illini as life is a lot tougher in the Big Ten, but based on his stats, I see a player that's not going to be a superstar, but somebody who can help the Illini win a lot of games. On nights when shots aren't falling he'll be nice to have around as he uses his strength to get to the free throw line.

Always. Stay vigilant.

Only if the woods are televised nationally.

I assume you are still in school, Allison, so I have to say I find it funny when a college student asks me if I have a real job. Yes, I do. You see, I went to college at a time where we actually had a chance to get a job after graduating. However, we did not have a Chipotle on campus, so I think it evens out.

As for my real job, I guess it depends on what a real job is to you. If a real job is nine-to-five in an office somewhere, then no, I do not have a real job.

What I have is my dream job.

I'm a sportswriter, and not just here. While I do get paid to write The Champaign Room, it's not my primary source of income, and this site is more of a fun hobby for me. My actual job is as a college football writer for You may have heard of this network they call CBS.

I write for them. About college football. So I get paid to watch college football and then write about it.

I am the American dream.


And that's it for the FORGOTTEN MAILBAG. Come back tomorrow for another edition of the #AskTCR Mailbag. Unless I forget to do it. If that's the case, until the next FORGOTTEN MAILBAG!

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room and Like us on Facebook. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.