1. Is Kyle Taber going to be a regular part of the rotation?
Here’s how Kelvin Sampson answered that: “Depends on how he practices. He’ll have the opportunity.”
2. How badly is Jordan Crawford, who played only 2 minutes, hurt?
Sampson said the freshman guard “flipped” his ankle again and was unable to play. No word on his long-term prognosis, though it seems like rest should be enough of a cure.
3. Why doesn’t Brandon McGee, the 6-7 freshman guard/forward, play more?
He’s not a good enough perimeter player to earn time there, and doesn’t do the little things as well as Lance Stemler and Kyle Taber at the four, Sampson said.
One could possibly wonder if McGee doesn’t do the “big” things better than those two.
4. Has A.J. Ratliff made any progress toward becoming the player he once was?
Ratliff had to take up Jordan Crawford’s minutes and then got even more time because Jamarcus Ellis got into foul trouble.
Ratliff looked especially comfortable on defense at the top of the 2-3 zone. He was shouting directions to the other players and seemed to be really engaged in the game.
He shot just 1-of-6 from the 3-point. Sampson joked that he asked Ratliff, “Are you ever going to make a 3-pointer again? If you’re not, just tell us.”
Ratliff needs to regain his touch — he’s been really, really open on most of his shots — and provide some scoring so that D.J. White and Eric Gordon (who have scored 75 percent of the team’s points the last two games) have some help.
5. What’s Gordon’s reception from the fans in Champaign on Thursday going to be like?
Here, I’ll let him tell you: “I donâ€™t know. But, (we) just gotta go over there and win. Thatâ€™s the No. 1 thing.”
It’s going to be insane.