In the first highly anticipated rematch of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, Chicago and Miami squared off in South Beach and the Heat escaped with a 97-93 win against the Luol-less Bulls. Sam and Shane spoke with Steve Aschburner from about the Bulls’ ceiling, the wide open Western Conference, Minnesota’s youth movement and why Rip Hamilton could be the most important player for Chicago in the postseason.

Fresh off a 3-3 Circus Trip split, Sam and Shane talked Blackhawks with Tim Sassone from the Daily Herald just before the puck dropped Tuesday night against Phoenix. Tim applauded Marian Hossa’s versatility, came to Duncan Keith’s defense and said that 23-year-old Jonathan Toews is the best player he’s ever covered. Also, the latest on the Hawks’ goaltending situation and how Dan Carcillo is adjusting to his new role in the Windy City.

Sam and Shane brought in Bob Asmussen from the Champaign News-Gazette to recap one of the biggest rollercoaster seasons in college football history. The Fighting Illini began the year 6-0 only to lose their final six games and finish on the fringe of bowl contention. Bob said Ron Zook’s days were certainly numbered and shared his head coach wishlist and pick for Big Ten “Heisman.” Plus, who will win the inaugural B1G Championship game?

A year removed from a loss in the 2010 MAC title game, defensive tackle Ron Newcomb and the Northern Illinois Huskies control their destiny for a return trip to Ford Field. Newcomb joined Sam and Shane the day after NIU’s thrilling comeback win against Ball State. Ron talked about what it’s like to play defense in an “offensive conference,” his move to the middle of the D-line, the Huskies’ six-game winning streak and who he feels should win the Heisman.

David Stern stated that a “nuclear winter” is forthcoming, so Sam and Shane turned to ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell for an update on the NBA labor situation. Nick broke down the latest lockout news, the importance of calendar deadlines, and the bloated contracts that paved the way for league turmoil. Don’t miss his thoughts on whether or not we’ll see basketball this season. Plus, how will the time off affect reigning MVP Derrick Rose and the Bulls?

In the spirit of the holiday season and Thanksgiving football, Sam and Shane gave away two Butterball turkeys on the November 15th broadcast. Listeners were asked to nominate their “Turkey of the Year,” the worst person in sports in 2011. Fan nominees included Tiger Woods, David Stern, Adam Dunn, Derrick Rose, Ozzie Guillen, Kenny Williams, Carl Crawford, Billy Hunter, LeBron James and Jon Lackey. A compilation of phone calls is posted below . . .

Shane and Sam spoke with Paul Allen, the voice of the Vikings, to recap the Bears’ 39-10 primetime win on Sunday Night Football. The trio discussed Adrian Peterson’s lackluster performance, Chicago’s surprising offensive line play, the start of the Christian Ponder era and whether or not Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier is on the hot seat. Plus, does Allen feel that Devin Hester has punched his ticket into the Hall of Fame?

Shane checks in with Whitney Mercilus, defensive end for the University of Illinois and the nation’s sack leader. Mercilus discussed his lofty expectations for the Illini this season, bad blood from the Ohio State game, his ascension into an elite pass rusher and the battles against an upperclass-heavy offensive line every day in practice. Don’t miss Shane’s surprise when Whitney shares his favorite pre-game ritual.

Northwestern senior outside linebacker Bryce McNaul joined Sam and Shane to talk about defending Denard Robinson, QB Dan Persa moving back into the lineup and the Wildcats’ recent success against Iowa. McNaul also explained how NU practices have changed thanks to the re-emergence of mobile quarterbacks in the Big Ten. And as a Twin Cities native, what does Bryce have to say about Shane’s territory — Northern Minnesota.

The Illinois Fighting Illini are 4-0 for the first time in 60 years and Sam and Shane spoke with Illini senior middle linebacker Ian Thomas about the start of Big Ten play this weekend against Northwestern. Thomas talked about the rejuvenated Illinois defense, preparing for Dan Persa, and his initial reaction last season to the Cubs painting Wrigley Field purple. Plus, how much weight can the former Silver Gloves boxer throw up on the bench press?

A four-year starter for the University of Illinois, right tackle and team captain Jeff Allen has seen the Fighting Illini rise into the national spotlight in what it is now his senior season in Champaign. Jeff talked with Sam and Shane about knocking off Arizona State, his ability to play on both sides of the offensive line in Paul Petrino’s system, and expectations for 2011.

Personal trainer and natural competitive body builder Lee Roupas joined the guys live in-studio to share his fitness expertise. If somebody abuses steroids regularly at age 18, what happens to his/her body by age 25? Lee broke down the aforementioned question and talks about the consequences and dangers that can follow. He also discussed proper workout training, the best diets and supplements, and the perks of being a natural athlete. One lucky fan received a copy of Lee’s book, “Living Proof: A Fitness Journey.”

Sam Panayotovich and Danny Pasquerelli spoke with Detroit Lions rookie punter Ryan Donahue, who made his NFL Debut this past weekend in Tampa. Donahue was an All-Big Ten selection at the University of Iowa and first team All-American at Chicago’s St. Rita High School. He talked with “The Deep Dish” about his new rivalry with the Bears, beating Georgia Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl and how he transformed from a straight-on kicker to an NFL punter. 

The Fighting Illini finished their 2010 football season on a high note, knocking off Baylor 38-14 in the Texas Bowl. To preview the 2011 season, WCRX’s Sam Panayotovich caught up with Illinois head coach Ron Zook last week in Champaign to discuss the Illini’s high-octane offense, shored up defense and early abundance of home field advantage. Plus, how will Illinois replace the holes left by NFL draft picks Mikel Leshoure, Corey Liuget and Martez Wilson, and is Nebraska really the favorite in the Big Ten?


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