Monday, November 06, 2006

Hoosiers Big Ten Champs!

IU Men's Soccer again asserts their dominance, clinching their automatic ticket to the NCAA tourney with a pair of 1-0 wins over the weekend, but the question of seeding now arises. Indiana looks probable for a #2 seed, but could slip into a #1 if enough top seeds lost. IU beat OSU 1-0 for the championship, but the bigger win was finally getting the Penn State monkey off their backs a game earlier.
However, the bad news is that with the two wins (g00d), the Hoosiers Goals Per Game average has dropped to a ridiculously bad 1.55 average. Here's hoping they've stored them all up for a stretch run, but scoring that few goals a game leaves waaaay too much to chance in the beautiful game. I don't think, unless they get homefield advantage, that these Hoosiers can make it past the round of eight, and maybe not even that far. Not to be a hater, and they've got good defense (as always) on their side, but this is not one of the great teams of the Indiana tradition. Nonetheless, it's been a gritty bunch that have won when it counted, and Congratulations to this squad on winning the regular and tournament Conference Championship!

IU football took that heart-breaking nosedive at Minnesota that I warned about earlier, saying "But those of you whispering about a bowl bid are reaching a little far, I think... Don't get me wrong, I think Hep is the best thing to happen to IU football since Bill Mallory, but it's the future that's bright, not so much this season." IU could still get to a bowl with a win against Purdue, but they'll have to play even better than they did against Michigan State & Iowa. Here's hoping!

On to Basketball!

The Indiana Men's team opened up their season with an exhibition win over North Dakota State, 95-50. There wasn't much to find fault with in the box score, and reports of the game from intrepid bloggers Steve, Ben, and Terry say pretty much the same thing. IU defended well, played hard, and shot pretty well too.

Surprises from the Box score:

Ben Allen getting 3 blocks and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes, all on the offensive end. Last year's version would've gotten 1 offensive rebound in that time, maybe. It looks like Sampson is making Big Ben use his height.

Bad surprise: the Whites' (DJ & Mike) lack of domination inside. Maybe because of the blowout nature and the hot outside shooting they chose not to abuse NDSU, but 14 total points in 40 combined minutes isn't anything to write home about. They should be fine, but we need both of those guys punishing dudes inside, like Marco did early last season (granted, before getting lazy).

Good surprise: the freshmen backcourt of Shaw & Bassett tearing it up for 27 points and 7 assists. While Calloway should be the starter from beginning to end, Bassett looks like he's going to make real contributions, and may earn 15-20 minutes a game off the bench with his sweet shooting and nice passing. As long as he plays defense, that is. Shaw also is a good slasher/scorer, but he's going to have to show an ability to do other things (Stemler, for example, shot really well but also added 6 rebounds; 5 offensive, and a steal) for the Hoosiers to get quality PT from Sampson.

This isn't going to be the deepest IU team ever, but it certainly looks like it 'll be deep enough, and can give DJ enough offensive support to allow him the all-Big-Ten season he deserves. And IU's defense should carry this club to a top-3 conference finish and even into the top 25. Should.

Next up, I'll be looking at other box scores from around the Big Ten, and recording my as-yet-unrecorded thoughts:


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