Light week for questions, which is okay by me. Finals week is a less than ideal time for the mailbag as is. But hey, nothing but free time ahead for a fortnight.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you've got a personal question and you're worried about your privacy, just tell us. We'll 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.
I always feel a little bad when I group multiple peoples' questions together, but it makes far more sense to do it when you get such similar questions. I don't think the amount of transfers is the issue. It would be nice if we hadn't needed to rely on them, but look back at the roster situation Groce inherited. It was pretty unbalanced in terms of class years and transfers are a pretty good bandage to apply to that particular problem.
The defense definitely hasn't been up to snuff with what we've learned to expect from Groce's Illini teams. The shooting will come around, and the defense should as well. Highlight of the season thus far would have to be the win over Baylor. The Bears are ranked 12th by Kenpom with us being their only loss. That win may be the difference between making the tournament and another year in the NIT.
@Champaign_Room Rough weekend for us all. Do you think winning out the rest of non-conf play is enough to reignite an under-performing team?— Tim Cermak (@toweringCU) December 15, 2014
It's necessary at least. A loss to any of Hampton, Mizzou, or Kennesaw State would be one hell of a blemish on the resume. The good news is we should make it through that stretch 3-0 and our opening game of Big Ten season is against a struggling Michigan team. The ship should be righted soon enough.
The U Part 2 was pretty good. Miami football is a hot bundle of fascinating and highlighting teams from my childhood is a surefire way to get me interested. My top five 30 For 30s (in no specific order) are: Muhammed and Larry, Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs the New York Knicks, June 17th, 1994, You Don't Know Bo, and Rand University.
The only Illini-centric thing I could think of for a 30 For 30 would be the 2004-05 basketball team's run, but you don't tend to make documentaries about the team that takes second place. I guess you could do one about Red Grange, but that's not going to draw as many eyes as something that took place in your audience's lifetime.
I'm not going to list any of the players who redshirted this year, since there is zero actual game situations for me to base my opinion on. I'm not an augur. In alphabetical order, because that's the simplest way.
DB V'Angelo Bentley- Too much speed and talent to not be drafted. If that's in the earlier rounds or not depends on how strong of a senior year he has.
WR Mike Dudek- A freshman year just shy of 1,000 receiving yards in a season that started multiple quarterbacks is going to get you on a lot of radars.
P Justin DuVernois- I'm not saying JDV is guaranteed to be punting in the NFL, but he's at least going to be invited to a training camp to compete for a spot.
RB Josh Ferguson- Fergie had better odds before this season, but a strong senior year could get him back in the picture.
QB Wes Lunt- That type of arm is going to get him a chance if he rebounds from this year.
LB Mason Moneim- I could see the Steamroller enjoying a few years as a special teamer.
DL Austin Teitsma- Would not be shocked at all to see him drafted in the 6th or 7th round this spring.
DE Jihad Ward- That size and speed as a rusher off the edge? Yeah, a decent senior year will see him drafted.
I have to say, I'm kind of shocked he went all the way down to the FCS level for his next job. Yeah, he's from Youngstown and all, but there had to be better offers than that out there. Then again, he's only 47 and has a lot of coaching left in him and I can't imagine the type of burnout one would feel after so many years dealing with Nebraska's fans. I'm okay with the idea of hiring Bo in the eventual and intangible future.
I have so many questions. Is the Muppet sentient or is the puppeteer that is responsible for them also on the island with me? If I said I was bringing a TV or a laptop, does this magical island have electricity and/or wifi? What latitude is the island located at? SO MANY QUESTIONS.
I'm going to operate under the assumptions that the Muppet is alive and that no, there are no modern conveniences on this island. With that being the case, my Muppet companion will be Gonzo. He's been a favorite of mine since childhood and I think he would be able to keep things fairly lighthearted while we're slowly dying of malnutrition.
My three items would be an axe, a large tent, and a large piece of flint. The tent would be a wonderful shelter (I'm assuming the island is somewhere warm) and we all need somewhere to stay. The flint will allow me to easily start fires because I am not a fan of food poisoning. The axe was chosen over a machete because it's increased utility. It can be a weapon and a tool for harvesting wood and whathaveyou.