Midweek musings: Illinois is in the market for a basketball coach to replace Bruce Weber. Numerous names have been tossed out. Virginia Commonwealth University coach Shaka Smart reportedly is the Illini’s top choice. The Illini do not appear to be Smart’s top choice, something that would leave Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas smarting. The VCU coach reportedly told Thomas he is turning down a $2.5 million (annual) offer. Time for Plan B. The good news for Thomas? Plenty of letters left in the alphabet.
* And for whoever thinks Illinois is one of the top five jobs in the Big Ten, one question: What about Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin?
* Speaking of Big Ten coaching jobs, Northwestern coach Bill Carmody should find out his future with the Wildcats any day now. If NU is to be the “Harvard of the Midwest,” it might want to follow the path that Harvard did to the NCAA tournament: admit athletes whose academic credentials might not be on a par with the rest of the school population. Either that or expect NU to continue its unblemished record of never appearing in the NCAA tourney.
* Any football fan upset that future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning is supplanting Tim Tebow as the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback would seem to have a fundamentally flawed perspective. To characterize Tebow as a proficient passer would be as inaccurate as the throws he tends to make.
* Chicago Cubs rookie manager Dale Sveum does not appear concerned about poor outings by closer Carlos Marmol. Maybe because it’s spring training. Maybe because he figures Marmol won’t have a lot of opportunities to blow saves during the regular season.
* Retired St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has a book deal. He is collaborating with St. Louis Hall of Fame baseball scribe Rick Hummel on One Last Strike: Fifty Years in Baseball, Ten and a Half Games Back, and One Final Championship Season. The book is to be out this fall. Likely about the time Cubs fans will be waiting till next season.
* The most compelling storyline of Chicago baseball this season could be whether the Cubs or White Sox are the team with the most losses.
For those out there who were thinking about exercising, here is the next best thing: Someone else exercising. In this case, it is Nicole Wilkins, winner of the Figure International competition at the recent Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio.
April is fast approaching. Or, in the case of April Rose, she’s in the following video. A favorite around here, April offers up her new edition of “Maximum Exposure.”
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