Welcome back to another Bob Asmussen chat. Sorry for the late start. My new puppy cheap jerseys was not cooperating at home. At some point later on, I'm sure I will say "My dog ate my story." He is a lot of fun. My wife and kids are doing a great job training him.
Enough with the animal kingdom, time to get to your questions.
Today is one of my favorite days of the year: the national title game is tonight. Most expect Alabama to win another championship against Clemson. But I've got a hunch the Tigers are ready for a big game.
Tomorrow in The News Gazette and on HQ, I will have my final Top 25 of the season and an early look at next season's Top 10. There will be some Big Ten teams included in the 2017 list.
Thanks as alwayws for your participation.
I have never actually checked out Mike Thorne's hands, but it is a very good question. I think his issue might have a lot more to do with lack of important playing time than the size of his hands.
To me, a big guy with great hands is usually what helps to make him an elite player. I'm not sure it is the size that matters as much as the dexterity.
Mike Thorne might be suffering because of other "non hand" related issues. He has had knee troubles and also has diabetes. That is a lot for one guy to deal with.
Happy New Year right back at you.
In our bowl predictions, I wrote that I think Illinois will play in a bowl game next season. Of course, it will take some breaks. And some big performances from many of the newcomers. So, I will go with football making a bowl game.
I put Illinois in the Pinstipe Bowl, which would be a great trip for the team. Hard to beat spending part of the holidays in New York City/
The basketball team is not eliminated from tournament consideration this year, but there is work to do. Games like Saturday at Indiana don't add much confidence. But I have seen teams find themselves without explanation and that can happen again for John Groce's guys. I think there is enough talent, but the parts aren't working very well together right now.
I hope it doesn't happen. My Mom and Dad both graduated from Creighton and my brother went to law school there. When I was in high school, I was a season ticket holder. I saw Creigton knock off Larry Bird during his junior year at Indiana State.
I really like the Big East schedule. Everybody plays everybody twice. So, if Creighton wins this week, the Bulldogs will get another shot later in the season.
Butler is a very good team and I think it will be a great game. Both teams are on the way to the NCAA touurnament. I am hoping Creighton will end up in Indianapolis. I am going there this year for the annual family spring break trip.
Is there any news as to when the physical upgrades to Memorial Stadium will start, the cost and the way it will be financed? Does the university count on contributions from ex alums for big time contributions for this to be the driving force behind this project? Where do you think the Illini rank in the conference in FB facilities now compared to what they expect when this project is finished? Lastly, what did you think of the PJ fleck hiring? Is this a stepping stone job for him or a lasting position?
Lots of great questions. Let's start with Memorial Stadium. No news to report in terms of timing, but my assumption is sooner rather than later. The process will include plenty of planning and also decisions about where the money will come from. A big advantage for Illnois right now is the amount of revenue it receives and is expected to receive from the Big Ten television deals. That money is climbing and I assume will be a large part of the financing for the stadium project.
All of the money will come from the athletic department. In part from the Big Ten and in part from funds raised from donors and ticket sales, etc. There are a lot of revenue streams for Illinois to tap. It won't all be donations.
In terms of football facilities, Illinois ranks in the bottom third currently. Or worse. There has been a lot of building in the Big Ten. After the renovations are done, Illinois will be in the upper third. And that's where the school should strive to stay. Down the road, I think Illinois should expand its indoor practice facility. Not needed now, but later for sure. Fleck fan, but I think Minnesota made the right call in hiring him. His style isn't for everybody. A lot of talk that seems to be self focused.
If Fleck is able to win at a high level at Minnesota, I think he will move on to either one of the big cheap jerseys jobs in college football or the NFL. Urban Meyer won't stay forever at Ohio State and Jim Harbaugh isn't likely a lifer at Michigan. If Fleck wins big and those jobs open, I'm guessing he will take the call. Minnesota is not a destination job in college football. No offense. I love visiting there and think the people are great. But there is a ceiling. If Fleck hits it, he will move on.
I have only seen two games cheap jerseys in person, one early in the season and one in the Big Ten. My impression is that John Groce is looking for the right combination. So, I think what is happening now with some of the players might not hold up throughtout the Big Ten season.
Groce seems to give his guys playing time based on merit. We don't see the team in practice. What happens there in private has to be part of the equation. It is for Illinois and for all other schools. Coaches tend to favor players that perform on a consistent basis.
I think it is impoprtant for all players to see the court at critical points in the game. You will never learn what you can do until you are given a chance when it counts. That is true for Nichols, Lucas and every other player on the team.
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