Ladies and gentlemen, our dream has come true.
Bill Raftery is leaving ESPN to join Fox Sports 1, according to a report from Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead. The news was announced in a press release as well.
The dream isn’t that Raftery is leaving ESPN, because his presence alongside Sean McDonough and Jay Bilas on Big Monday was one of the best boothes in the history of college basketball broadcasting.
No, the dream that I’m referring to is a nugget that is tucked in the first paragraph of the release Fox Sports 1 sent out:
“Bill Raftery [will] serve as lead Big East game analyst, teaming with the incomparable Gus Johnson on regular season and all Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament game.”
ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME?!?
This is duo we’ve been dreaming about for years. It’s never been more important that right now for the Big East to find a way to continue to remain nationally relevant, because there’s not much in this world that is better than a exciting game with major implications being called by these two. You want proof? BOOM:
Raft will still call NCAA tournament games for CBS.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.