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In between chowing down on some turkey and giving thanks this week, feel free to direct your questions about the Illinois football team to sports editor and beat writer Matt Daniels for his 2 p.m. Friday chat. The Illini head to Chicago facing much the same situation as a year ago — beat Northwestern and become bowl eligible. Hat!
The Illinois men's basketball team escaped Springfield with a buzzer-beating win against Chicago State, saving the Illini from what would have been one of the worst losses for the program — perhaps of all time. Jalen Coleman-Lands' game-winning three-pointer also kept Illinois from its first 1-4 start since the 1906-07 season. It's safe to say the Springfield experiment didn't really pan out.
Preps coordinator Anthony Zilis is DeKalb-bound later this week for a pair of state championship games. Will Arcola return home with its first state title since 1988? Can Unity's somewhat unexpected run end in Scott Hamilton's first state championship in his fifth trip? Zilis can answer those questions — and more — at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Illinois women's basketball team will go for a fourth straight win to start the season on Tuesday against Tennessee State. The Illini volleyball team could use a couple wins to close out the regular season, travelling to Lincoln, Neb., on Wednesday and playing its finale in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Friday.
Are the Illinois players excited about the game at Soldier Field? Will Bill Cubit be around next season? How many teams from the Big Ten are going to reach the College Football Playoffs? Our longtime college football write is ready to answer these questions and anything else you have in mind.
Matt Daniels will spend Friday on the road to Minneapolis. But before he gets settled in for Saturday's 11 a.m. kickoff from TCF Bank Stadium between the Illini and Golden Gophers, check in with him to get the latest on Bill Cubit's program. Is Cubit the Illini coach in 2016? Will Ke'Shawn Vaughn play against the Golden Gophers?
Preps coordinator Anthony Zilis is bound for Tolono this Saturday to take in Saturday's Class 3A state semifinal showdown between St. Joseph-Ogden and Unity. And he is bound for DeKalb next Friday to cover at least two state title games involving area teams since Arcola hosts LeRoy this Saturday in a 1A state semifinal.
WIll the Illini leave Providence with a losing record? Or will John Groce's team correct some of the flaws it showed in the first two games, namely on defense? Did beat writer Marcus Jackson expect this kind of offensive outburst from Mike Thorne Jr.? Will the defense improve?