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Illinois basketball preview: Northwestern

Illinois's 68-60 loss at Iowa on Wednesday was pretty bad. The Illini knew going in they needed to win three of their last four to essentially secure an NCAA Tournament selection — yet they still laid an egg. The team's seniors (Nnanna Egwu, Rayvonte Rice, and Ahmad Starks) accounted for a remarkable 45 points in the loss, with everyone else pretty much sleeping on offense.

Now, Illinois faces the prospect of needing a win in each of its final regular season games to keep hopes of meaningful postseason play alive. Of course, two of those three games are against the hottest teams in the conference: Northwestern (4 straight wins) and Purdue (winners in 8 of their last 9 games).

The first challenge for the Illini is Northwestern, who beat Indiana 72-65 in Bloomington on Wednesday to extend its winning streak to four games. Since starting Big Ten play 1-11, the Wildcats are relishing their spoiler role and averaging 67.5 points per game. Tre Demps has been a wrecking ball in that span, averaging 16.5 points per game, and Alex Olah has been literally and figuratively big, averaging 12.25 points and notching a pair of double-doubles.

Northwestern is also winners of its last two games in Champaign, but has never won three in a row. In the last meeting of Illinois and Northwestern, Kendrick Nunn stole the show, scoring a career-high 25 points. Nunn is in a major funk right now, though, as he has just 7 points in each of Illinois's last three games and is shooting 21% from field goals during that span.

If Illinois is to stop the Wildcats' hot streak, not only does Nunn need to improve, the whole team needs to improve. Playing as a team, the second half of John Groce's TNT (toughness and togetherness), was fairly absent at Iowa, as the Illini focused more on dribbling than finding an open pass. I don't see this being a long-term problem, however, as Groce seems to have little patience for it. Additionally, there's a good chance Jaylon Tate will be healthy again after suffering an illness, and his skills as a distributor will certainly help.

My prediction: Illinois 64 – Northwestern 59


Tickets on sale for the 32nd Annual International Dinner & Performance Night

For over three decades, families, students, and faculty have gathered at the University YMCA for the International Dinner & Performance Night. Each year, participants can expect to enjoy an evening of great food and live performances in celebration of the diverse cultures that make up Champaign-Urbana.

The University YMCA and the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) announce that tickets are on sale now for the 32nd Annual International Dinner & Performance Night.  All are welcome.
We are also pleased to announce that Columbia Street Roastery of Champaign, Illinois will be providing all of the coffee to be enjoyed at the event.

Tickets are only $15 for a sampling of food and performances from all over the world. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk of the University YMCA, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign (checks payable to the University YMCA). Tickets sell out early and seats are limited; plan to purchase tickets as soon as possible.

What: The 32nd Annual International Dinner & Performance Night

When: Sunday, March 8, 2015 from 6-8 p.m.

Where: Located at the University Y, 1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign (On the corner of Wright and Chalmers)

What is the International Dinner & Performance Night? 

Pictures here.

At this event, you should expect to enjoy cuisines from over 20 countries and performances from members of the campus and community. So far, confirmed dishes to be served include: Chotpoti, Sweet Yogurt, Passion Fruit Mousse, Brigadeiro, Fried tangyuan, xishi tofu, biryani, bunuelos, chicken siomai, and pierogi. A finalized menu and performance program is To Be Announced.

For more information and updates on the menu and performance schedule, visit: universityymca.org/international/dinner

Parking Nearby:

Parking lot on 6th between Daniel & Chalmers - Free after 5pm.
Parking garage on 6th & John - Free after 5pm.
Street parking on Wright, Chalmers, & 6th Streets for 75¢ per hour.
Municipal lot on Green & 5th Streets for $1 per hour.


CUDO Plays Season 2 Grand Exhibition this Sunday at Urbana Civic Center

From the Facebook event:

You've seen their alphas. You've seen their betas. Now, play the finished games at the CUDO Plays Season 2 Grand Exhibition! Come and support all of the teams at the Urbana Civic Center, and experience the games they've worked on for the past six months!

Game play will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the awards ceremony is at 7:30 p.m.! Bring all your friends and family and share these amazing games!

The Urbana Civic Center is located at 108 E. Water Street, Urbana.


Someone tell us the answer to Dandelion’s trivia question

Awesome vintage store Dandelion accidentally put up a post on Facebook early in the week mistakenly suggesting that a former employee was a cast member on Freaks and Geeks. I racked my brain trying to put pieces together there before they corrected their mistake. Either way, it was a great way to promote that they have a 50% off sale going on throughout the weekend. Half-priced stuff and a hearty discussion of Freaks and Geeks are things that should go together like peanut butter and jelly. 


Despite the mistake on the Freaks and Geeks post, they now have a post up about a former employee that was a cast member on another short-lived sitcom, Popular. This appears to be the real deal and I demand answers. Who was this C-U resident that was on television in the early 2000's? Has he or she been on any recent shows? What was Popular?

Anyway, if someone knows the answer, please share it.


C4A offers Spring Break Circus Camp

From a press release:

C4A is very pleased to offer a special session of our popular circus camp while schools are on spring break.

This is a perfect way for active kids, ages 8 to 13, to spend spring break week in a performing arts atmosphere!

Ringmaster Joe Reichlin will lead the troupe through a variety of circus arts including: tumbling, partner acrobatics, juggling, hooping, rola bola, and rolling globe, as well as physical conditioning.

We will accommodate a wide range of skills: this camp is suitable for absolute beginners as well as those with previous experience.

We anticipate a strong demand for this spring break option; registration is open on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Additional details about Spring Break Circus are here.


Lunch and Learn with Mannie Jackson at iHotel on March 4th

From the email invite:

Wednesday, March 4

Guest Speaker:

Mannie L. Jackson
Venture capitalist and philanthropist
NCAA's 2015 Theodore Roosevelt Award Honoree

Please join us for a complimentary networking luncheon.  Enjoy great food, interact with other area professionals, and tour our state of the art conference facility while you're here!

RSVP here, space is limited.


Tonight on SP Radio: Hatch 2015

Hatch, a Creative-Reuse Art Festival, returns this weekend, and tonight's show will give you the chance to hear all about it. Hatch is produced by The I.D.E.A. Store, a reative-reuse marketplace and social earned-income enterprise of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. This year's festival features an art fair, a "trashion" show, an art exhibition, and more.

Smile Politely Radio airs each Friday at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign and is available as a podcast the following week. You can find our past episodes here.


PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana Volume 17

PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana Volume 17 is just around the corner! Shake off those winter blues and come out to The Canopy Club for a wonderful evening of inspiration, laughter and art! Topics and perspectives vary widely, but the high energy and diverse creativity have undeniable appeal to all. 

Friday, March 13th, 2015
The Canopy Club
Doors open 6:30 p.m.
Show starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door

Tickets are available at Manolos, Exile, and The Canopy Club, or at: http://canopyclub.com/events/

Possible Mature Content 18+

Manolos Pizza and Empanadas will be serving hot slices throughout the night! http://manolospizza.com/menu/

Let us know you’re coming by RSVPing on Facebook.


  • Anthony Benjamin: From a Hobby to a Career 
  • Sara Benson & Rummana Alam: Legal Paradies
  • Jeff Hake: How to Grow Your Own Burrito
  • Ainslie Heilich: Finding the Odd Fellows
  • Tasleem Jamila: Art is Connection
  • Hann Lindahl: Y Chromosomes and the Women Who Have Them- Intersex and Biology Beyond Binary
  • Molly M. McLay: What It Means to (FY)CARE
  • Daniella Pavlić: A Yellow Substance
  • Heidi Reible: Walking Balzac in NYC
  • Featuring Esteban Gast in his PKN C-U emceeing debut!

Thank you to our sponsors: Unisource – a Veritiv Company, Prosource, Dixon Graphics, CUDO.

Tweet to #pkncu during the night. Hope to see you there!

First devised by a pair of Tokyo architects in 2003, PechaKucha Nights have become international phenomena that use a simple concept to create big community exchanges. Presenters have 20 images and 20 seconds per image to share their ideas, works, and passions for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds flat.


For additional information or if interested in presenting at a future PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana, please contact us at pechakuchaCU@thecudo.org. Check out the www.pechakucha.org global website to get a sense of the magnitude of the event as well as our city page, http://www.pechakucha.org/cities/champaign-urbana.

Follow us on Twitter: @pechakuchaCU
Become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pechakuchaCU
Get the PKN C-U Newsletter after signing up at http://www.pechakucha.org/cities/champaign-urbana
For more information about CUDO visit thecudo.org


News-Gazette makes it easy to call the mayoral election

The News-Gazette is doing god's work and offering a scientific poll to see which mayoral candidate is going to get the most local support. I'm a little disappointed there's not a write-in option because I feel like Herp Derpson or Brian Scalabrine might take this one down.

In all seriousness, this poll is doing a pretty damn good job of calling the mayoral race already. As the results show above, Deb Feinen, Joe Petry, and Karen Foster are going to eliminate each other's votes in this fatal four-way match and Don Gerard is going to retain the title easily.


C-U Comedy is back at Big Grove tonight

C-U Comedy is back at Big Grove this Thursday, February 26th with special guests Kristen Toomey and Joe Roderick.

$15 tickets available at the door or call to reserve your seat at (217) 239-3505.

7 p.m. — Doors
8 p.m. — Show Time

No food service available during show but our delicious popcorn will be provided.

2 drink minimum during show.