Thursday, December 22, 2005

Holiday Hiatus

Like everyone else, I'll probably won't be posting until after the new year, but enjoy all y'all's family & friend time.

Hopefully, Mike Davis doesn't unwind too much and takes the next two games seriously.
The game tomorrow at Butler looks to be really tough and New Year's eve outing at Ball State won't be any party either. Butler is the superior team (and proved on 12/3 on BSU's court, winning 64-53) but Ball State ain't too shabby either, going 4-2 with the only other loss being a one-point heartbreaker at Indiana State. But like the Western Illinois game, as long as IU comes to play and executes, the Ball State game shouldn't be too tightly contested. The Cardinals are just too small (starting backcourt averages 5-8 1/2), and without Peyton Stovall, the pressure is on 6-3 Skip Mills to do everything.

Butler, on the other hand, while also small, uses this to their advantage creating mismatches and getting open shots with their outside shooting and quickness. 6-6 forwards Brandon Crone & Brandon Polk gets all the hype, but the starting perimeter crew tosses in 33 ppg as well, led by yet another Graves' 14.3 points.

Butler also lost by a single point to Indiana State (albeit at home), but hung tough in road losses to Ohio State and Michigan. On their home floor, they are sure not only to be tougher, but also will definitely be fired up to play the in-state basketball icon of college hoops.

We may see 6-7 Brian Ligon play a lot more than 13 minute-average, as he's the only other "big" besides Crone and Polk on the roster, and Marco's size will be hard to match up with.

If Davis can light a fire under Marco, and get him to put the sort of effort together that we've seen (Nicholls State, Duke, Kentucky) before, he won't even have to score 20 as long he holds on to the ball and doesn't get unfocused and rely on complaining to the Refs. He can & should score a lot of points, but his assists will be more important.

And once again, as a plea to Mike Davis, if you get up 20 on these teams in the second half, it'd be a great time to play Ben Allen & Cem Dinc a little and get them used to just being on the floor.
That's all, folks, Have a good one!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

IU thumps Charlotte: Big Ten notes

Well done, Indiana. Beating Charlotte 71-54 isn't as big of a feat as it would've been in any of the last few seasons, but still the Hoosiers looked good while doing it. While I was sure that IU had the better team, I was worried about playing at a hostile arena and Charlotte's inside strength getting Killingsworth in foul trouble.

But they came through behind some phenomenal long-distance shooting in the first half(hitting 10 of 14 3pt attempts), and then Killingsworth and White exerted some strength inside in the second half. The end of the game looked like the end of the Kentucky game, with IU getting enough points in transition to ice the game. Props to Calloway, who's attacking style gave him 4 points and 3 assists in just 8 minutes, but really kept the 'Niners on their heels.

With White back, IU doesn't have to play Killingsworth so much (only 26 minutes) and I saw Davis giving Marco more normal rest breaks. White's shotblocking and finishing on the break ought to give this squad even more teeth in their transition atack.

Salutes to Vaden (14 pts, 5 rbs, 3 assists) and Strickland (12 pts, 9 rbs, 3 assists, and NO turnovers). Vaden did turn it over 4 times, but I love the way he looks for his teammates. And that pass-fake right before drilling the 3 in the first half? Brilliant.
Strickland also should get props for late in the 2nd half when he tore away an offensive rebound out of the hands of Charlotte big man, but he didn't credited with a steal. I guess maybe they counted it as a rebound?

AJ Ratliff is a terror on the defensive end, blocking two (one a 3-pt. shot). That sort of ability gives you much more power on the perimeter than in the paint as a defender. Thinking about guys coming to block your shot will really affect a jumper more than a post-move or lay-up, when you're generally expecting a challenge. As expected Erreck Suhr is starting to see less and less time.

Unfortunately, Ben Allen is also seeing less time. Davis needs to find this kid some minutes, 'cause he is way to good to be sitting on the bench all season. And Davis needs to get these guys shooting free throws, 'cause 2 for 7 isn't gonna help on the road in the Big Ten. And also, now that he's got some depth inside, can Davis please get Killer to stop playing the Matador D? It just don't work.
And speaking of the conference:

Big Ten Preview/Notes so far
in preseason predicted order:

1. Michigan St.#11 (9-2)
Still totally a reasonable pick. They've not been impressive as a group, but they are deeper up front than they've been in years, and Paul Davis is playing better than ever, and wings Ager and Brown are getting scary good. But I bet that defense and consistency are two questions that Izzo does not ever want be raised for a team of his, but these are the questions.
2. Indiana #17 (6-2)
Sometimes, you watch this team and your jaw just drops with the guard corp's unconscious outside shooting and the marvellous hands of Marco Killingsworth, and the spacing, the passing, and then there's the shotblocking of DJ White and AJ Ratliff coming back to the rotation, and then you find yourself yelling "Why the hell did you just foul a guy 90 feet from the basket, jackass?"
Good times.
3. Iowa (8-3)
Steve Alford's seat, one of the three hottest in the Big Ten, may be cooling off a bit, but I seem to say that every year around this time, and every year his clubs go on to some unspectacular melt-down in conference play. Horner being injured won't help things, but tonight's game against Drake ought to give some answers either way.
4. Illinois #6 (11-0)
Amazing defense, and Jamar Smith gives them the outside shooting they need with every defense terrified of Dee Brown. But the offense is still the weak point of this team. The depth and defense should carry them to a lot of wins, but any team that struggles to get shots off is not to be taken seriously as title contender.
5. Ohio State #22 (7-0)
Have some decent wins, but they're just looking rather one-dimensional in their attack. If they aren't hitting the 3's on the road in the Big Ten, what are they gonna do? Their defense looks especially vulnerable, as they get steals, but don't have any interior defensive presence and don't rebound all that well. This said, they are winning and will should be good enough to make the top half of the Big Ten standings.
6. Wisconsin #23 (9-1)
Yeah, they haven't got much talent, but coach Bo Ryan doesn't need much. While I don't think they should be ranked, and have been disappointed in the Big Ten's top-rated recruit (Joe Krabbenhaft), fellow frosh Marcus Landry is making real contributions. Kamron Taylor and Brian Butch are actually playing up to their potential, and Jason Chappell and Michael Flowers are overachieving, if anything. Bo Ryan just wins.
7. Michigan (7-1)
The UCLA game is not the be-all end-all for this Wolverine squad, but it just reinforces my feeling that Amaker's team is going to be the odd one out come NCAA Selection day, and that probably spells the end for Tommy. Loads of talent, it's just wildly unpredictable, and I don't see them winning the big games against conference foes when they absolutely must.
8. Northwestern (5-4)
Still breaking hearts. Vedran Vukusic could probably start for any team in the country, but has to do everything for this team, and it's just not enough. A horrorshow against Seton Hall ended with a last-second backdoor lay-up for the win, after scoring 44 points. Ugh. I picked these guys too high again this season. D'oh!
9. Minnesota (6-2)
Having their difficulties right now with injuries, etc., but I don't see the Gophers matching last season's success. The defense of Brent Lawson and Aaron Robinson and the interior presence of Jeff Hagen has already been missed. Outside of the Maryland loss, their schedule has been All-creampuff. Losing at home to Gardner-Webb seems as damning as anything, but combine that with the fact that they were very, very lucky to get by UAB at home as well.
10. Purdue (4-4)
I picked Purdue low, because 1) I'm a Hoosier fan, but 2) I saw last year's Boilermaker club get wiped out by Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan arena. Indiana wasn't good last year, but Purdue was really bad. I figured that Purdue would take a year to mix its old and new talent, but I never guessed that they'd lose Tarrance Crump, Carl Landry, and David Teague for the year. But look out next year, as with those starters back and the freshmen having got some good playing time in, the Boilermakers could be a title contender again.
11. Penn State (5-3)
The Nittany Lions sure haven't shocked the world. While Ed DeChellis has more freshmen contributing than I thought possible, this is not a good team. Maybe next year, they can start working towards the NIT.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Indiana, Kentucky, NFL notes.

Indiana plays at Charlotte tonight. As I said before, this is the redemption game, both for last year's hosejob and this year's ISU loss. ESPN2, 8pm CT.

Tubby Smith is a great coach. He keeps his guys loose and they pound Louisville. I'll say this, while UK has not fared well against the Big Ten, the bouncebacks against top 25 teams West Virgina and Louisville have been exactly what you want to see if you're a Wildcat fan. I'm not sure they have the consistency for another SEC title, but they look like they belong in the top 25 conversation. Now that they will get Randolph Morris back, they could make some noise in the NCAA's.

Speaking of, Pat Forde writes one of the funniest columns I've seen in some time.

Tennesee thumps Texas, kudos to the Volunteers who I've always had a soft spot for, but I still don't think Tenn is really better than NIT-level. I just don't think much of Texas, who has been the Big 12's answer to Purdue: Win a lot of games early and in-conference, do nothing in the postseason. And the blabbing about this being a title contender? The frontcourt is nice, with Aldridge and Tucker, and Daniel Gibson is as good of a point as is out there, but where's the bite on the wing? If they had either a combo guard to allow Gibson to wreak havoc from the two-spot (i.e. IU's Dane Fife '02 or UConn's Ricky Moore '00) or a really solid 2-way swing contigent, then we could talk. But having your point guard be your principal scorer is not the way to championships. When the opposition knows that the attack is coming from the guy who's holding the ball, it's much easier to defend.

Bears win in a walk, but chebus, their offense is as ugly as their Defense is awesome. They'll do well, but won't make it to the Superbowl.

The Colts finally lose. To be expected with the clinching of homefield advantage, but at least this has happened with enough time for them to bounce back and get motoring again before the playoffs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Conference preview not really working.
I'll figure something else out.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Indiana kicks the snot out of Kentucky; 79-53, and that feels good. For too long the Wildcats have been bullying the Hoosiers. But!

The test of redemption for Davis comes not with this win, but whether he can motivate his guys to get past Charlotte on the road. Charlotte, unlike UK, has a great inside presence in Curtis Withers that could get IU in bad foul trouble real quick. This said, Northwestern beat these guys (as have Wyoming, Miss. St., and Valpo), so IU needs to just get up by ten on these guys and stay up. If Davis can motivate his guys to remember last year's bullshit loss (jeez, I'm still mad about that one), and prepare properly this week, and then go on to take down Butler and Ball State in their houses, I will consider the Indiana State loss a fluke. But the inconsistency of past Davis ballclubs still has me jittery.

Notes on UK:

Kentucky is jsut not very good without Randolph Morris and Chuck Hayes. And I don't think having Kelenna Azuibuke would have helped all that much. I honestly expected Morris to be back (thus my preseason #14 ranking) and a balance to be able to be maintained on both sides of the floor. But without Morris or Hayes' inside presence, I see something the Hoosiers would run into a couple of years ago when Jeff Newton would get in foul trouble, a bunch of good shooters trying to figure out how to get off quality 3's with no interior threat. The saying goes you can get good threes in 3 ways: Kick-outs, on skip passes (possibly w/screens), and in transition. If you don't have good interior players, kick-outs disappear, as do screens when the Refs don't respect your big guys, so you're only left with transition looks.

I didn't see Kentucky trying to get three-pointers in transition. I don't question Tubby on this, as taking to the rack is a better bet (especially when your name is Rajon Rondo), but outside of Rondo, when the threes aren't falling, I don't know what else the Wildcats will have outside of a full-court press.

Rekalin Sims may be a decent player, but he was just overwhelmed against Marco. No shame, but he's it inside. The 7-footers are stiffs who should be second-and-third string, not options 1 and 2 at center. Sheray Thomas can fill some minutes, but is hardly a difference-maker.

Rondo's great. Doesn't give up, amazingly athletic, hits his free-throws, just needs to spend next summer shooting threes. The other guards are okay, Sparks being the best of them, but they seemed to get the wind taken out of their sails when the threes didn't fall.

Long story short, I respect Tubby and salute Rondo, but without Morris, this club should definitely not be ranked, and has a lot of work to do to even make the NCAA's.

Notes on IU:

How great does Ratliff look? His game ain't just threes. He seems to be the key to the Hoosier perimeter now. His ability not only to knock down the outside shot, but then take advantage of that capital to finish on smooth drives, and follow his own shot, is a weapon that IU hasn't had since... Damon Bailey? Maybe just since Luke Recker. And on defense, his long-armed blocking of three-point shots is not only good in itself, but makes foes think when shooting threes, and that's a great thing to have. I look for Ratliff to start taking all of Suhr's minutes and some of Wilmont's. Errek, you've done all you can at the 2-spot, but Ratliff's athleticism and defense can't be matched.

Marco's good, but he also got the benefits of some whistes and played against guys that he would beat in a boxing match 10 times out of 10. Nobody could body him away from the basket, and UK's wings aren't tall enough to bother his passing. But do I ever love having beast who snags every defensive board and then throws some 'bows to make guys afraid of getting in his grill.

However, I really don't like having to worry down the stretch just because UK put a crazy press on. I noticed that it happened right after Lewis Monroe fouled out, so maybe Tubby didn't want to try against a veteran point, or maybe it was just sheer desparation paying off late.

But like I said, at Charlotte is now the game to watch.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Indiana, Indiana State, and Kentucky

Well, I was a bit ranty about the IU loss to ISU. But I do think that

*the margin for error has evaporated,

*Davis' seat just got pretty hot real quick,

*that teams like Butler and Ball State have to be licking their chops to have a shot at an inconsistent Hoosier squad later this month, on their home floors no less.

The Indiana State team might not be so bad, and there's no reason to panic after one bad game. But with the last 2 1/2 seasons behind us, perhaps a non-Hoosier fan could understand why the faithful fans are a bit jumpy. This team is talented, but are they a team?

So, what should be a very indicative game against Kentucky looms on the horizon. What to make of KU is almost as hard of a task as what to make of the Hoosiers. Here's the schedule UK has played:

S Dakota St W 71-54
Lipscomb W 67-49
Iowa L 67-63
West Virginia W 80-66
Liberty W 81-51
High Point W 75-55
UNC L 83-79
at Georgia St W 73-46

There are some real powder puffs on this schedule. But UNC, Iowa, and WVU are not be taken all that lightly. There seems to be only one true road game, too.

The losses to Iowa and UNC were close, but the West Virginia win is less impressive than it looks on paper. That game was real close late, despite UK's hot start, and few key plays by Rondo changed the complexion of that finish. So there's no game yet you can point to as a barometer of what UK can, or should achieve.

The Randolph Morris circus couldn't have helped them any, and Rajon Rondo (who essentially plays 3 of the five starting spots alongside Rekalin Sims and Patrick Sparks) was out for the GSU game with strep throat. I wonder just how ready to go he's going to be.
I believe in Tubby Smith's ability to win games, but I am skeptical of this Wildcat team deserving a top 25 ranking without Morris, let alone #15.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Other notes:

General College ball thoughts:

I thumb my nose at UNC's "rebuilding." Yeah, they've got great freshmen and the played Illinois & Kentucky well. But Illinois won, in their house, and beating a Kentucky team that has Patrick Sparks at one guard and 6-1 Rajon Rondo playing every other position is going to become less and less impressive as the season goes on (whether or not they beat IU this saturday). I still UNC will have major problems on the road vs. ACC opponents. Next year, maybe, this year, NIT.

This might be the year of the mid-major conferences. Northern Iowa beats Iowa, but at home I expect them to. Fellow MVC team Indiana State takes down Indiana. The MVC in general looks pretty great right now, even though Creighton struggling a little bit right now. St. Joe's took down Kansas last night, and George Washington will be fierce in the A-10. The MAC will be criminally under-appreciated for another year. Memphis and Nevada are off to nice starts. The WAC has gotten some attention after a signature win of Hawaii over Michigan State. There's even a final four contender with Gonzaga, who also got a good dig in on MSU, who took down a tough Boston College team last night. Looking forward to the beginning of the conference races.

I'll have to post my revised conference previews before Big Ten season begins.


No, it's not pirate day, Indiana just lost to Indiana State. Credit ISU with playing a smart, well-designed game, and utilizing their home-court advantage. But still, there's no way Indiana should've lost this game. rant follows:

The former D-1 players (Killer, Monore, Calloway- who originally played at New Mexico St.) combined for 15 turnovers all by themselves. If you can't face the pressure from the Sycamores, what's Saturday against Kentucky gonna be like?

Where the heck was Marshall Strickland? Senior leadship, where are you?

Have to say something nice:
Ben Allen looks better and better. Tell me again why he didn't play more than 1 minute in the Duke game? Oops.

Hey, I know let's play the what-if game? What if Sean Kline hadn't been sitting? What if DJ White was healthy? What if James Hardy and AJ Ratliff were ready to go? What if Mike Davis could actually motivate his team to win games not on national television? What if he didn't get out-coached every time he faced a team that has a chance of winning 15 games?

This was a must-win game, but noone looked like they realized it. ISU has beaten Indiana over and over on their homecourt, and why wouldn't you take them seriously? Looking good while losing to the likes Duke, UConn, North Carolina (last year), and Kentucky (every year) should be noone's goal. Winning every game on the schedule, one at a time, should be the goal of every Indiana team.

Actually, it may be good that White is sitting, because we're getting a much better look at how Davis coaches without White's natural ability& shot-blocking to make up for it.

The question becomes: What is Mike Davis? A coach who rallied together the post-Knight team to reach the National Title game with his own offensive style and tough defense, or some lucky chump who can't figure out how to get a team to play to its strengths, and not just his strengths.

And this aside, why can't Davis get his guys to execute down the stretch? This is a veteran team, they need to be able to get the shots they need to get and play the right defenses in clutch situations. Were Tom Coverdale and Dane Fife that savvy, that important as coaches-on-the-floor? I am sure that Davis cares and works hard, but he's not getting through, or he's not getting his guys to care about the right things. But, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I can't figure it out, but I think it is safe to say that the Davis-watch has begun. We should get some answers pretty quick. If he doesn't beat Kentucky and Charlotte (on the road), he may be merely counting days until the end of the season. Oh, and the margin for error is now officially zero. Losses at Butler or at Ball State (which now looks very possible) will be nails in the coffin.

I know, one game does not a season make. But I hope the Hoosiers were overlooking ISU and concentrating on Kentucky, because it's gonna be ugly if this is how Indiana plays.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

NBA updates:

Time for a revisiting of how I picked the NBA, and how it's actually doing. The NBA is only the methadone for my college hoops addiction, but it is still fun to keep up with. The teams are listed in the order that I originally picked them, with their current (12/6) records and standings following.

1. San Antonio- (14-3, First in West) The best in the West will be playing without gunslinger Manu Ginobili for a while, but they're deep enough to get through it A-ok.
2. Indiana- (10-6, Tied for 2nd in East) Well, the Pacers are not playing at the level they are capable of, and their defense is indeed nasty, their offense is even more horrific. Maybe they miss Reggie more than one would've thought? But probably they just miss Tinsley playing well.
3. Miami- (10-8, 5th in East) Shaq's finally back, maybe the Heat can start winning some games?
4. Detroit- (13-2, First in East) Good start. I didn't expect that. But whether they sustain when 'Sheed gets bored in mid-winter is another tale.
5. Dallas- (12-5 Tied for 2nd in West) About where I expected them. Good, but only a title contender if San Antonio falls apart.
6. Denver- (9-9, 8th in West) Technically tied with Hornets and Sonics for last playoff spot, but have one more win. I would've thought better.
7. Houston- (4-12, 15th in West) Darnit! I knew that the Rockets weren't that great, but the crazy expectations of the ESPMSM made me downgrade from tops in the West, not into the lottery where they look like they belong right now.
8. Sacramento- (7-10, 12th in West) Don't let the standings fool you, they're only a game & a half out of a playoff spot, but things must turn-around soon before they get into too big of a hole.
9. Cleveland- (10-6, Tied for 2nd in East) Looking good, but not on the road. But Hughes & James see to be a success, which is bad news for the rest of the East.
10. New Jersey- (7-9; Tied for 9th in East) All that talent, but no sustainability. Backcourt-heavy club is just too unbalanced.
11. Phoenix- (10-5, 6th in East) Doing very well for missing Amare. Matrix, Nash, and newcomers still a potent combo.
12. Washington- (7-8, 7th in East) Not bad, not great. Jared Jeffries has started every game, but is 7th on the team in minutes played. Also, 4.4 ppg not fantastic for an NBA starter. Much as I love JJ, I think he's the weak link on this squad.
13. LA Lakers- (7-9, 11th in West) Not looking great, especially the Kobe-only offense, but there's lots of time to turn it around. Midseason usually when good PhilJax teams hit their stride.
14. Philadelphia- (8-10, 8th in East) It's just ridiculous that if the playoffs started today, the 8th team in the standings would get the third seed. Unfair and stupid.
15. Seattle- (8-8, Tied for 9th in West) Not out of the playoff picture by any means, but struggling more than a lot of experts thought. Except me, and aren't I smart? Seattle will be lucky to make the playoffs this year with the resurgence of the Timberwolves and Clippers.
16. New York-(5-13, 12th in East) There's still time, but Larry may have to get some trades to work in order to get that'll do what he wants.
----------------- ----------------------------------------
Lottery teams:
17. Minnesota- (10-6, 7th in West) KG should be happy enough. Getting back to the playoffs is a really reasonable goal for the T-pups.
18. Memphis- (12-5 Tied for 2nd in West) Wow to the defense! I don't think this will last, but the Grizzly D is tops in the NBA.
19. Boston- (7-9; Tied for 9th in East) Just out of then playoffs. Big shocker. I've been surprised that there hasn't been more Pierce trade talk.
20. Chicago- (8-8, 6th in East) Poor Chicago. Losing close one to Dallas and losing Hinrich to injury. Put this on top of being last (5th) in your division but 6th in the conference, and they are looking to finish weak.
21. Golden State- (12-6, 5th in West) Between these guys and the Clippers, the West is just thumping my predics right now. Baron Davis, he's a player.
22. Milwaukee- (9-6,4th in East). 4th in the East is also 4th in Central. Woof.
23. Utah - (7-11, 13th in West) I thought for a bit that perhaps I had underestimated them if Kirilenko was healthy and Boozer was motivated, but it's looking like I didn't.
24. Orlando- (7-10, 11th in East) Dwight Howard is what Kwame Brown should've been. He and Stevie Franchise are a nice two-man game, but it is a five-man team.
25. LA Clippers- (12-5 Tied for 2nd in West) Biggest oops yet. And it might last as long as Sam-I-am is healthy. Yikes! But I'm happy for Elton Brand, who's deserved better.
26. Toronto- (3-15, 14th in East) No surprise here. Bosh can play and Villanueva's a decent rookie, so they could be okay again, one of these years.
27. Charlotte- (5-13, 12th in East) Ditto. Sean May and Ray Felton not impacting like Felton predicted. I wonder how he's taking it. Probably cries himself to sleep at night on his big bed made of money.
28. Atlanta- (2-14, 15th in East) Will this be another "can they win 9 games" storyline? Nah. Josh Smith can dunk, 'tho. Man alive, I wish he'd spent a year or two at Indiana.
29. Portland-(5-11, 14th in West) Yeah, they don't look good. Upsides... well, Darius Miles is playing well, maybe the best of his career.
30. New Orleans/Oklahoma City- (8-8, Tied for 10th in West) Wow. This is a major achievement. I did not expect them to be even just kinda bad, let alone .500. Probably won't last, but this is good news right now.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Indiana 4-1, Colts & Bears win

Indiana B-ball takes down an unimpressive Eastern Michigan squad. Same problems as always
(inside defense, shot selection, etc.). Can they take Kentucky without DJ White? I think so. Game Ball to Ben Allen for strong play. For a frosh center, he actually looks pretty good. He probably should have played more in the Duke game, But Davis yanked him in favor of Kline. I understand as Kline's a fifth-year senior, but Allen could be the most talented IU "true center" since Kirk Haston, if he stays 4 years. Mike Davis gets some pub for his 100th win, and as much as I want IU to do well this year, I call BS on the media about Davis being the 2nd-fastest-to-100 . Steve Straiger makes the excellent point with the real numbers:

So here are the real numbers:

1) Robert Montgomery Knight 100-20
2) Branch McCracken 100-25
3) Everett Dean 100-48
4) Mike Davis 100-68

Oh and by the way, those are the only coaches in IU History to get to 100 wins. So in reality, Davis was the slowest IU coach in History to get to 100 wins.

Great run-down. I don't think Davis is an incompetent, but let's not go comparing him to Knight just yet.

Speaking of Knight, Ryan G. seconds the Vitale motion that Assembly Hall be renamed for RMK. To which I say... no. Yes, Knight is one of the great minds in the game. Yes, he probably deserves to have his own "DeanDome." But make no mistake, Knight deserved to get fired from IU. The stupid events that actually got him fired aside, RMK was an employee that would've gotten fired at nearly any institution, despite his productivity, just for being an embarassment. Indiana is going to name a building after someone they fired? Nope. Even supposing that could happen, the Knight family would probably have a choice finger to "thank" IU with. A lot more time is going to need to pass for before IU and RMK bury the hatchet and hold hands. Like, eternity.

Colts kill a weak Tennessee team, Bears defense roughs up Favre. The questions are:

Can the Colts win the Superbowl?
A: Yes. Will they? Well, they've got a better than even shot at it. The most important thing is to stay healthy down the stretch.

Are the Bears a NFC title contender?
A: If title contention was measured solely by defense, the Bears would surely be a lock. But the Bears offense, while mediocre, will be taken advantage of in the playoffs. I'd love to see a Colts-Bears Superbowl, but I don't think that'll happen. You just can't rely on your Defense to score points.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Links 'n' stuff

Indiana Soccer:
Freshman star Lee Nguyen goes pro, my theory of first-round-loss offsetting that goes out window. Juniors Jake Peterson & Jed Zayner also will go if they get offers. Durn!

Nice post about Yoni Cohen/Dick Vitale. But I disagree on the comparison.
I like the graphic, but I don't want it on Google, I want it to work (in reverse) for my tv set.
Non-Big Ten C-Ball:
Kansas falls, barely, to Nevada and Nick Fazekas 35 points? Here's a question, is the 6-11 Fazekas starting at power forward or small forward? But neither one of these clubs is ranked.
Nevada should be.

Major powerhouse programs seem kinda down, outside of Duke. Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina will struggle to get past the first round of the NCAA's, if they get there. UCLA and Indiana are on the way back up this year, but how far back up? UConn will be good, but they are kind of a Johnny-come-lately in thinking of College Powerhouses. Arizona, Michigan State, and Louisville are all decent contenders, but none are odds-on favorites for the Championship.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

IU, Big Ten loses

I didn't expect IU to beat Duke. But I so wish they had.
With Wisconsin losing on the road, it was up to Indiana to reverse the tide and get the Big Ten their first Challenge win.

Duke came out and hit them early, and Indiana wasn't ready for the pressure. But once they got their feet set, the Hoosiers ran a game that Duke couldn't stop (well, essentially get the ball to Marco), and had a nice run keyed by some pressure defense to take the lead. But Duke executed down the stretch. Shelden Williams came up with a couple of big blocks on Marco and Sean Kline, and took advantage of Marco being out for a breather late. But JJ Redick was unbelievable. This guy was hitting three-point shots like Reggie Miller, with the same killer instinct. But his drives were what sent me up the wall. Bigger, seemingly quicker guys couldn't stop him from getting in the lane , or from finishing once he was there. But that's what seniors are supposed to go.

IU could claim a moral victory, but come on. If Indiana could finish halves, it'd be something else entirely this morning. But everyone can bear the blame for this loss.

Mike Davis:
I've never been a Davis-hater, but I don't think he's the guy for Indiana, long-term. I think he's proved that he can recruit, he can coach, but he's not a consistent top-10 guy, which is what being at Indiana demands. He's the guy right now, so he's got my support for this season.
Davis did not get his guys ready for this game, and they were rattled early and late. Indiana could not execute down the stretch, and that's pretty damning. And when the only guy that gives your offense any bite is sitting on the sidelines and can't get in, call a timeout when you have 3 of them left so that you at least have a chance. I'm not going to blame him for continuing to have Calloway bring up the ball late in the game, but I will if he lets it keep happening down the road. Also, no blame here for the decision to foul with 47 seconds left rather than playing for the tie. Duke was executing and IU didn't look like they could stop them. But Indiana probably should've tried to press and trap rather than fouling before attempting to get either a 10-second call or a turnover.

The Defense:
Good on you for forcing Duke into 19 turnovers. Bad for giving up wide-open threes late in the second half.

The Offense:
Good in getting Killer the space to work. Bad in getting only 12 assists for 29 buckets. Where'd the vaunted passing go? I'm guessing the pressure just got to the Hoosiers.

Amazing performance, but could have won the game if he'd hit his free-throws or worked for the ball late.

Okay if he's coming off the bench, but shouldn't be getting the minutes in a game like this that he was getting.

Terrible shooting outwieghed otherwise decent night. Hit a good one-on-one shot late, but still shoots unreliably.

Scored a little, but has to keep guys like Redick out of the lane. I know he's shorter, but you'd figure he could stay in front of guys after playing point for three years.

What was up with the donut in the scoring column? And passing up a wide-open three in the corner in crunch-time? That one could've changed the complexion of the game.

Not ready to come back yet. I'm sure he wants to, but I saw him shaking his hand after dribbling. That ain't good.

No scoring punch when it was needed. Can he play in the big games? And got a couple of second-half threes stuck in his eye. You're quick enough to recover, don't let the opponent think he has room to launch one in your face.

Ac has got to hit shots, and the wild pace and bad passes when he was trying to hurry up IU's comeback actually put the nail in the coffin. Either he's got to step up and play with smarts or he'll be riding the pine at the end of games.

Errek Suhr:
Couldn't contain Duke guards. No one else has, so nothing to feel bad about, but he couldn't get open for shots either.

Ben Allen:
Played for one minute, but I didn't see Kline paying any better. Maybe should've gotten more of a chance.

Maybe the offense will improve when White comes back and Ratliff's healthy. But the defense definitely will. I mean, this doesn't ruin the season, but it will if the same things keep happening against lesser foes.