June 8 Ask the Sports Editor chat

June 8 Ask the Sports Editor chat

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 2:00pm

How will Illinois football fare in the 2017 season? Is the Lovie Smith honeymoon over? Who can Brad Underwood add to help his roster? Can Champaign Central baseball win a state title? Anything is fair game as sports editor Matt Daniels answers your questions at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Feel free to submit questions to his weekly chat ahead of time.

Matt Daniels wrote on June 08, 2017 at 2:06 pm
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Afternoon everyone.

Matt Daniels here for another weekly chat.

But, alas, no questions are in the hopper. I'll be here until 3 p.m. to answer any that might filter in.

Good news: Steve Kelly is back in town. Albeit briefly.

The former WDWS broadcaster and all-around good guy is in C-U for a few days to play some golf, and he just stopped by here at our downtown offices. Always good to catch up with Steve, who is enjoying life out in Colorado.

Illinois found out another opponent for its upcoming 2017-18 season with the release this morning of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge pairings. The Illini will make a trip to Winston-Salem, N.C., to play Wake Forest at a date and time to be determined.

This comes after the Illini land a post player in Greg Eboigbodin on Tuesday, a 6-9, 220-pound forward who was previously an Illinois-Chicago signee. We'll see what he might add to the Illini next season, just aside from a mere presence in the lane.

Lovie Smith now has three commits in the 2018 class after Oswego East cornerback Antwain Walker announced a verbal commitment to the Illini on Tuesday night.

And Champaign Central baseball left earlier this afternoon from its home field, McKinley Field in the heart of Champaign, as the Maroons try to win a Class 3A state baseball title this weekend.

So, plenty to talk about. Feel free to drop any questions until 3 p.m., and I'll answer them.

Anonymous User wrote on June 08, 2017 at 2:06 pm

The timing of Ohio State's coaching move is, to say the least, strange.  Seems like they are having trouble with top candidates willing to even consider the position.  Care to guess who they might hire?

Matt Daniels wrote on June 08, 2017 at 2:06 pm
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Hey anonymous,

You usually don't hear of coaching moves made like the one Ohio State did earlier this week with the departure of Thad Matta.

The Hoopeston native led the Buckeyes to unprecedented heights during his tenure, taking Ohio State to the 2007 national title game and the 2012 Final Four.

Fred Hoiberg and Greg McDermott were some hot names earlier this week, but McDermott tweeted his intentions earlier today of staying at Creighton, and Hoiberg seems content to stay with the Chicago Bulls, no matter how dicey the Bulls' situation seems.

To me, Chris Mack from Xavier and Chris Holtmann from Butler are two choices that go straight to the top of the list. Mack has done wonders at Xavier, which is where Matta used to coached, and Holtmann has Butler a perennial NCAA tournament team, keeping the standard that Brad Stephens established.

Sean Miller's name has floated out there a time or two, but he seems happy at Arizona and has the Wildcats in prime position each and every year to contend for an NCAA title while attracting talented players every season to Tucson.

Whoever Ohio State hires, I'm sure Buckeye fans would like to have it done sooner rather than later given the unusual timing of Matta's departure, especially with the July evaluation period around the corner.

Matt Daniels wrote on June 08, 2017 at 2:06 pm
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Wrapping up the chat for this week.

Be on the lookout in Friday's N-G for a feature on the Champaign Central baseball pitching staff that has helped lead the Maroons to the state tournament, a look at Oakwood graduate Jon Davis before he runs for the Illini on Friday night at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore., and a breakdown of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge since all the matchups were announced today.

Have a great rest of the week everyone.