Friday, September 08, 2006

Got road test?

It's coming for IU Soccer at #3 Southern Methodist.

Talk about your rough start to the season. So far the Hoosiers have just lost to #15 Notre Dame (in OT, to a fluke goal); tied 1-1, despite dominating, #2 Connecticut; beat UAB 2-1; beat then #8 Creighton 1-0; and beat #1 Maryland 1-0 in an exhibition game.

Changes to the starting line-up after the loss to Notre Dame? Well, if Chay Cain has a good outing against SMU, he might secure a starting spot between the posts. And I wouldn't be surprised to Kevin Robson slide into that Offensive Midfielder/Forward position, perhaps moving Brian Ackley up and sending Kevin Noschang to the bench. Also, Ofori Sarkodie should get more time, if not an actual start, after his nice pass that led to the tying PK in the closing of the ND game. Maybe fellow frosh Kevin Alston gets bumped? But, I'm not the coach, and that's been a good thing.

Big Ten News:
Purdue loses Nate Minoy, who might have been one of their best all-around players, and doubly hurts as the Boilermaker frontcourt was already suffering after the early retirement of center Marcus White. I don't think Minnoy hurts as much as the White loss, as Minnoy was going to have some trouble coming back into shape after the midseason injury that evidently ended his Purdue career. But right now in the frontcourt, Purdue has Carl Landry (medical redshirt), swingman David Teague (medical redshirt), swingman Gordon Watt (transfer), and two 6-10 freshman (neither of whom will ever be confused with Greg Oden). Landry's a hoss inside, and Matt Painter will have his collection of guards fighting hard, but it'll be an accomplishment to get above .500 and get into the NIT.

My early Big Ten predictions:

1. Wisconsin: 13 guys who can play and the conference's best coach. Tucker-Taylor nice 1-2.
2. Ohio State: Great recruits, league's best point guard, but very thin depth.
3. Illinois: Bruce Weber's defensive strategies should keep them in the top 3. Or at least top 5.
4. Indiana: I think DJ will stay healthy. That's pretty much what it comes down to.
5. Penn State: Can the Lions make the NCAA's again? Despite interior depth woes, I think so.
6. Michigan: Has the talent to be top-3, but with Amaker at helm, I doubt it.
7. Purdue: Too many injuries, no proven chemistry, big success seems unlikely.
8. Iowa: If certain Hoosiers are calling for Steve-o to take over IU this season, I'll be shocked.
9. Michigan State: Izzo is so good, but this is a rebuilding year.
10. Minnesota: Some good role players, but much of the offensive punch is gone this season.
11. Northwestern: No hope. Bright spot is the sophomore backcourt of Moore & Williams.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Updating from the lovely island of O'ahu

Just to show my dedication, even on vacation. Also, I'm sick. Figures.

First, IU Basketball Recruiting:
The Hoosiers lost out of 6-1 Jeff Teague, but that may turn out to be okay after a weekend visit from Eric Gordon and Chicago prospect Derrick Rose. Gordon's still Illinois' boy for now, but it's obvious he's not the most enthusiastic recruit Bruce Weber's ever landed. Rose has made no mention, but a talented point guard would be nice to have after next year as after Calloway & Suhr graduate, that will leave only incoming freshman Armon Bassett at the position.

Sampson did pick up a nice recruit in 6-9 center Elijah Holman. Holman is only 210, which may not sound like a center, but he's got a wingspan of 7-7 and averaged 10 blocked shots last season. It sounds like the NBA body that scouts drool over. I think the Hoosiers have two scholarships left to give for the next recruiting class.

Graduating: Calloway, Wilmont, Suhr
NBA Early Entry?: DJ White
(7) Returning: AJ Ratliff, Ben Allen, Mike White, Lance Stemler, Joey Shaw, Armon Bassett, Xavier Keeling
(3) Incoming Frosh: McGee, Ellis, Holman

So, even if DJ returns, IU should have 2 open scholarships out of 13 available to offer. Gordon, Rose, we'd happy to have you both.

IU football wins in its opener, but still the season outlook is not great.

The US men's Basketball teams wins in its final game over Argentina to claim the medal... the bronze medal. Sigh. But this had a different feel than the last few outings. This felt like the US team was a competitor this time, and just got caught wrong-footed against Greece. Not like the previous incarnations in which the US couldn't figure how to execute or defend or even hit its free-throws. As much as I hate Duke, I think the US should keep Coach K on the bench for the 2008 olympics.

IU Soccer:
Hoosier soccer is off to a nice start with wins over then no.8 Creighton and UAB, and then settled for a tie with No.2 Connecticut after outshooting 17-3. Mike Freitag has seemingly kept the IU program rolling with no noticeable lapse after the retirement of the best coach IU ever had in any sport, paragon Jerry Yeagley.

Loss to rival Notre Dame again, 5-4 in overtime. Unbelievable. 5 goals allowed? I don't know when the last time that happened. I don't envy the defense this next week in practice.