For whatever reason, this was an incredibly light week for #AskTCR questions, which makes me a bit sad. #AskTCR has rapidly become my favorite thing to write because it helps build our incredibly weird community into something a little more magical. I'll just blame last week's holiday and the fact that spring break is fast approaching for the lack of questions. One man did step up and boldly answer the call though, flooding the mailbox. And that man is Jeff Rittenhouse. On a slight editor's note, next week might be a week off for the mailbag as I'll be in Colorado. As soon as I find out if the house I'm staying at has internet, I'll let you guys know.
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.
First question: HOW TO LIVE AS EXCITEDLY AS POSSIBLE DESPITE HAVING RESULTS THAT SHOULD MAYBE MAKE YOU LESS EXCITED BUT THIS IS LIKE SPEED NOT THE DRUG BUT THE MOVIE AND IF HE STOPS BEING SO EXCITED HE MIGHT DIE HE'S NOT SURE BUT HE'S NOT GOING TO CHANCE IT SEEMS PRETTY DICEY.
Second question, because it is spring and beautiful out (where I am, not where you are), I am going to say yes. I think they make a bowl game this year.
As someone with a great disdain for seafood, I have to disagree and especially so when it comes to sushi. If it's homemade by a friend, I will be polite enough to eat it (you're welcome, Lauren Q). Otherwise? I'm saying no all day. I've never cared for the taste of any fish or shellfish, so it's just an entire genre of meals I don't eat. The exception being crab rangoons, but let's be honest with ourselves, there isn't a gram of actual crab in those delicious bastards.
An email from Shane-
House of Cards or True Detective?If one animal had our level of intelligence, which animal would create the most bizarre society?and/or
Finally! A question that allows me to use my Animal Science degree (and isn't soul crushing like everything in vet school)! I'm going to eliminate all mammals because they have the majority of the same instincts as us. A society of intelligent prey mammals would just stay indoors and build defenses while a society of intelligent predators would be us but on four legs. For being boring, mammals are excised. So now I'm torn between three choices. I think seahorses would be hilarious solely for the fact that the female passes the pregnancy on to the male, making him carry it to term. It would be like the movie Junior, but actually funny. Migratory birds would be pretty fun as well, since the entire north would just be abandoned for a few months every year and then moved right back to as if nothing happened.
But my final choice would be frogs or toads; no specific species of either, mostly just amphibian nature and the bizarre segregation their society would have. Eggs just left hanging out mostly alone. Children in clusters, unattended in an environment half-shared with their elders yet completely out of reach of true freedom or anyone somewhat older than them. It would be a lot like being a teenager, but so much more harrowing.
For your second question, True Detective. Hands down, TD is/was a much better show than House of Cards. I watched the first season of HoC over a few days last year. It was interesting at times and Rooney Mara and Robin Wright are beautiful enough to get me through most shows, but I couldn't find myself caring enough to do a second season of it. It became more of a chore to just watch Kevin Spacey play Kevin Spacey. It's a bummer he's suffered the curse most actors eventually succumbs to: playing yourself in everything (Jeff Bridges, Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller, Al Pacino, it goes on). TD was a refreshing change. Here are two incredibly flawed heroes being pulled into something arcane and demented, yet they were still human enough that you could relate to them. The Louisiana landscapes were haunting and beautiful. The mystery was spooky as hell. The peripheral characters were quirky and unique. And the dialogue was topnotch. I'm excited to see what the new cast/plot line for season two is going to be.
Yes and no. I mean, we have to at least pay lip service to the fact that if they win tomorrow and Friday, the Illini are standing on the bubble doing everything they can not to disrupt that soapy membrane. Sidebar: I always pictured the bubble as a giant version of one you blew as a child through a wand with all the teams hoping to merely slide through the outer surface without damaging it enough to cause a pop. Back on topic: if they beat Indiana and Michigan, that's one hell of a resume and I'd argue they'd be deserving. KenPom has us ranked 65th right now. Indiana is 66th. Michigan is 10th. Those two wins put us firmly in the low-50s.
That all being said, do I see that happening? No. I really don't. The Indiana game is basically a toss-up. I think we ultimately win it. But I struggle to think we do the same to Big Blue. Yeah, they won't have the same magical three-point shooting they had in the recent thrashing. Take away that 70% shooting from behind the arc (how did that happen?) and it's a much closer game. One we can win though? I remain a skeptic.
They aren't creepy. They're just friends you haven't met yet. Having a service industry job means dealing with a lot of people you'd rather not and I can't imagine driving a limo is any different. It's like being a cab driver, but with passengers who tend to feel more entitled to get away with things. So I figure they put up a veneer to deal with it all. Either that or he really was creepy and had a glovebox full of human ears.
No, it is not less cool. It's still a limo ride and those are always fun because you are in a bizarrely large car that doesn't actually need to exist. That being said, it is a lot of fun popping out of one outside a crowded bar. I was at a Sox game in 2012. When my group and I left, we decided to go up north to visit more friends of mine from undergrad and drag CSN's J.J. Stankevitz along with us. J.J. was at a bar up in Lakeview. We figured we'd look for a minivan cab and do our best, since the group already had five people in it. We stumbled upon a limo and I quickly learned you can convince limo drivers to take you places if their original passenger is making them wait two hours outside Bacardi at the Park. One wonderful drive down LSD in a limo later, we arrive at the bar. The line is huge. Our driver hops out, sprints around, and opens our door. The crowd turns, eagerly anticipating someone famous. Five drunks in Sox gear pile out of the limo laughing. Limos kick ass.
The logo on the bust will be a winged Block I, raining deadly threes in the direction of Iowa.
Depends on how old you look and what college we're talking about. In Champaign, you probably get until 23 or 24. That once wonderful rule about only needing to be 19 to get in quickly becomes horribly when you realize how many children around you are experiencing their first college bar. If you're a grad student, it's a little easier since technically you still have a reason for being in town. I don't feel creepy out here in Manhattan because you have to be 21 to get in and we share the city area with a military base, so it's already a hugely diverse crowd. I also look like a child when I shave.
With this season looking to end as a 2 or 3 seed in the NIT (with a hopefully very deep run), I think the absolute minimum bar the Illini must clear next season is making the tournament. If they don't, I will view next season as a failure and start getting worried about John Groce's coaching career. After that I'd like them to be no lower than a seven seed and at least win their first game. One and dones suck, especially when you aren't the underdog.
To get an idea of how high our expectations should be, I took a look at what some of the conference's best coaches did in their third season with their current school. Tom Izzo inherited an okay Michigan State squad that had gone dancing the two previous seasons. After missing the dance his first two years, the Spartans went 22-8 in year three, losing their regional semifinal. They haven't missed the tournament since. Bo Ryan took over a Badgers team that had been dancing the previous three seasons. Wisconsin hasn't missed the tournament since hiring him, losing in the second round in his third year. The Buckeyes had missed out on March two years in a row before hiring Thad Matta who managed to get the team up to 20-12 in his first season. Ohio State lost in the championship game in his third season, only missing the tourney once since his hiring (with a 24-13 record).
I literally do not know the last time I wore sweatpants and I've also never been to a bachelor party, so I have no idea.
That's it for this week's Jeff Rittenhouse dominated mailbag. Feel free to start sending in question's for next week's even if that mailbag might not exist for an entire fortnight. I'll let you guys know soon.