Tom's #Mailbag, March 22, 2019

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This week's mailbag is bulging more than Bruce Pearl's pockets — and his shirts.

March 20 Illinois basketball chat

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 - 12:30pm

March Madness will go on for a sixth straight year without Illinois, which just set a program record with 21 losses. So what's next for the Illini? The expectation for the 2019-20 season will be an NCAA tournament berth. That's going to require some work from Brad Underwood and Co.

Lovie, Illini add grad transfer receiver

CHAMPAIGN — Depth at receiver is a concern for Illinois football heading into the 2019 season.

Lovie Smith’s program addressed some of that question on Sunday night when Dejon Brissett announced via his Twitter account that he would transfer to Illinois.

Next for Illini: Offseason additions

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois coaches are getting a jumpstart on what will be another important offseason.

The Illini not only have to hold on to the guys already on their roster — never a guarantee in the transfer era — and then add some more pieces.

Future Illini end shines in his final hoops game

PEORIA — One day.

That's all that Keith Randolph gave himself. One day to celebrate Belleville West's second straight Class 4A state basketball championship. A one-day break after the end of his basketball career.

Because today? Today, Randolph turns from Belleville West power forward to future Illinois defensive end for good.

Continued growth an offseason priority

Illinois coach Brad Underwood, freshman guard Tevian Jones and freshman forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili reflect on their season after Thursday's Big Ten tournament loss to Iowa and look forward to what's next for the Illini.

Notes: Jones gives glimpse of what could be

CHICAGO — Illinois fans have clamored for Tevian Jones this season. If there was one thing they wanted, it was more of the 6-foot-7 freshman guard, and through the first round of the Big Ten tournament, it looked like the fan base was going to be left unfulfilled.

Focus shifts to future after season-ending loss

CHICAGO — The Illinois locker room was a somber one late Thursday night at the United Center. An open locker room — mandatory at the Big Ten tournament in contrast to the Illini’s regular-season operations — provided an unvarnished glimpse into the Illinois’ players state of mind after the 83-62 season-ending loss to Iowa in the teams’ second-round matchup.

LIVE! Iowa

CHICAGO — Illinois hung with Iowa for a half, but the Illini couldn't keep pace with the high-scoring Hawkeyes in the final 20 minutes in an 83-62 loss in the second round of the Big Ten tournament at the United Center.

Nicholas Baer paced Iowa with 17 points. He was joined in double figures by Joe Wieskamp (13 points), Tyler Cook (12) and Ryan Kriener (11).

'Champ' proponents make pitch to UI trustees; Chief defenders critical

URBANA — "Champ" made his official pitch to be the University of Illinois mascot Thursday, with an ROTC student showing up in full costume to greet UI trustees.

UI sophomore Mike Skibski presented the idea for a World War I soldier to represent the Fighting Illini during the public comment section of the board's meeting at the Illini Union.