Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fears realized

Indiana Soccer was unable to generate multiple goals in its second-round match-up with Bradley, tied 1-1 in regulation, and was then eliminated on PKs, 5-4. This Hoosier Soccer club just reminds me so much of the 1993 squad, which was also solid defensively and had future Players of the Year Brian Maisonneuve and Todd Yeagley, but just couldn't seem to put the ball in the back of the net. They lost both the Big Ten championship game and the first game they played in the NCAA tourney (against Wisconsin I believe). On the upside, the 1994 Hoosiers went all the way to Championship game before narrowly falling to Virginia, 1-0. Hopefully, next year's soccer players will be playing in the Championship game as well. They'll lose a couple of starting defenders in Charley Traylor and Greg Stevning, as well as their back-up goalkeeper Chris Munroe, but otherwise these Hoosiers return intact. These Hoosiers have the depth to plug those gaps. The one guy to watch whether he goes pro early or not is back Ofori Sarkodie. I don't think he will, but if he does, then the Hoosiers' defense will be significantly weakened.

ACC wins the "challenge" again.
Granted, my hopes weren't the highest for great results this season, but I still am waiting to see the Big Ten win one of these things. On the upside, my predictions ran pretty decently, posting a final score 9 correct and only 2 wrong. On the downside, both of my wrong predictions were about the Big Ten winning, as Iowa and Michigan both looked weaker than even I thought they'd be.

Indiana goes to scary Southern Illinois on Saturday night. They're coming off a bad loss to Southern Cal., and while they aren't as big as Georgia Tech, they're every bit as quick and certainly seem tougher. Also, SIU is good at getting steals and shutting down foes' 3-pt. shooting, so we need Bassett, Gordon, and Ellis to control the ball without coughing it up. Gordon turned it over 8 times against GT, and I'll bet he's been hearing about that in practice.
If I were coach Sampson, I'd run a couple of plays designed to get Lance Stemler open looks early to boost his confidence, and then I'd pound the ball into DJ in the first half. To open the second half I'd look to get Jamarcus Ellis involved right away, 'cause once he scores he seems to challenge his opponent a lot, and that's only to the good for IU. I'd probably give Mike White a lot of time in this one, too, as he's got a good combo of size and speed to match up with SIU forwards.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A win is a win, right?

As Indiana faced off against Georgia Tech last night, without freshmen Jordan Crawford and Brandon McGee, and with AJ Ratliff already on the bench, Kelvin Sampson decided to forsake next year and un-redshirted Mike White. This tells me a few things: 1) Sampson's worried about rebounding (and he should be, IU just gave 15 offensive rebounds to an opponent for the second straight game) and 2) Sampson's worried about the interior defense, and consequently 3) Sampson doesn't think Eli Holman is ready yet to contribute.
At times in the first half, the Hoosier interior defense looked like swiss cheese, but I do think that will improve as Ellis & Gordon begin to understand more fundamentals of not reaching on the perimeter, sliding in on help-side defense, and as other players besides Stemler understand the value of drawing charges (Armon, I'm looking your way). IU did tighten up the D a bit in the second half, asserted themselves to get up 10 before not scoring a basket over the final 3:38, winning 83-79.

It does look like the point of my last post was already on Sampson's mind too. "We have to get the ball to [DJ]. We have to work from the inside out. The outside is not very good if you don't have an inside."

But still, I'm worried. Even though Indiana is clearly a better team than Georgia Tech, they let them hang around, and when they played uninspired, GT took advantage. I'm really worried about Saturday's game at Southern Illinois. Going into a hostile arena as a ranked "name" opponent and having problems with turnovers and rebounding is a recipe for disaster, and against SIU, it's a recipe for a thumping.

But who knows? Maybe the Hoosiers get it all together and get a great road win, and all is forgiven.

I called it!
I was for 5-5 last night in my ACC-Big 10 predictions. Yay me!

Yeah, but...,
I was WAAAY off on Monday's Iowa-Wake Forest game, and my predicted blowouts (IU, PU) were close games and my predicted close game (Minn.) wasn't.

in my defense
Iowa was playing for the 5th time in nine days, and still is without their best player and returning point guard, Tony Freeman. Of course, I should've known that. Also, Georgia Tech had a nice lay-off to prepare for short-handed IU, and Purdue faced a Clemson team without its best player, James Mays, and Clemson helped the scored by missing 16 of 26 free-throws. Minnesota may have had an off-night, but they just may not be as good as I thought they'd be this year.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Big Ten-ACC Preview, weekend results

I was wary of the Musketeers and for good reason. XU spanked IU 80-65. They were vulnerable inside (DJ went for 16 points & 10 rebounds), but from what little I've been able to see of the Hoosiers this season, they're working outside-in instead of inside-out. You're going to have nights where the threes don't fall (and boy, going 1 -for-15 is one of those nights) and you have to find other ways to win. The Hoosiers won 21 games last season riding DJ White. Eric Gordon is awesome, but you have to find ways to have a chance to win every game if you want to be a championship squad. It's not that Indiana should subdue Gordon's game, it's that Indiana should work on using the talent it has in the paint early on to get opponents into foul trouble. Having a twosome like DJ White and DeAndre Thomas is a rare thing, and it'd take a very unusual team (last year's Florida squad maybe?) to play them straight up.

Sure, you can just rely on one of your players being awesome, but it's just a lot better to move the ball around and get open perimeter shots when foes are having to double down into the paint. I think you better quality looks at the three, and it gives you better chances for dribble penetration and backdoors once a couple of those threes fall. Also, fouling out your foes is an excellent strategy, as it forces your opponents having to throw unusual combinations of players on the floor, who aren't used to playing with each other. I hope this loss will enable Sampson to get his players to realize that it's a team game, and a strategic game, too. I'm sure Sampson will also concentrate on the number of offensive rebounds given up (overall rebounding was pretty even, but Xavier missed fewer shots and still got more offensive boards), and the need not have let-downs, etc.

Big Ten-ACC Challenge starts tonight!
This year ought to be interesting. I still think the ACC probably wins it, although I'd project a narrow 6-5 victory. The seeding is all screwed up, tho. UNC plays middle-of-the-pack Ohio State and likely NIT squad Georgia Tech visits front-running Indiana?

Wake Forest(3-0) at Iowa (4-2)
I'll go with the home team on this match-up of cellar-dwellers. No disrespect to Wake, but I see them as last place in the ACC, and I just can't imagine they'll be able to outlast Iowa in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Georgia Tech (3-2) at Indiana (4-1)
Mismatch? Oh yeah. GT's cause isn't helped by the fact that IU's coming off a loss.

Northwestern (1-3) at Virginia (5-1)
This one's gonna be ugly. NU still doesn't have a D-I win, and the Cavs will make sure that continues.

Minnesota (3-1) at Florida State (5-2)
This one is hard to handicap, as Minnesota has a solid road win already over Iowa State and FSU has fallen to Cleveland State and South Florida, but just hammered Florida. I'm defaulting (barely) to the home team, but this is one to watch!

Wisconsin (5-0) at Duke (6-0)
Is Duke ever going to play a road game in the Challenge? I still am not on the Duke bandwagon, even after they beat Marquette, but Wisconsin usually disappoints against the ACC.

Purdue (3-0) at Clemson (6-0)
That 3-0 record of the Boilermakers might fool you into thinking that Purdue is actually an okay squad. The three wins were all home games against inferior competition, and Purdue barely got by Lipscomb (66-62). Clemson is a good team that has a shot at the Sweet 16. The result is not in doubt here. Clemson by a lot.

NCSU (4-1) at Michigan State (4-1)
This should be a solid game, but the Spartans are a good team (if not great, just yet) and are at home. The call goes for the Green.

Boston College (4-0) at Michigan (3-3)
Although BC just got a nice win against Rhode Island, I still don't think the under-sized Eagles are strong enough to go into Michigan and pull out the road win. Michigan is not going to be one of the better teams in the Big 10, but they'll do okay at home.

Illinois (4-1) at Maryland (4-2)
This is the second game where the Big Ten might reverse its fate and finally claim a challenge. The Illini have a much better chance at the NCAA tourney than Maryland, but right now the Terrapins are playing well, & they'll be at home. Fear the Turtle.

Virginia Tech (2-2) at Penn State (2-3)
This is another very tough to call. Again, I default to the home team, but this is where the ACC could make up for an earlier surprise loss by FSU or Maryland. Penn State has more talent than last year, but still has not been able to put together a good win. VT is in full rebuilding mode, but Vassallo and Washington are dangerous.

North Carolina (5-0) at Ohio State (4-1)
Sure, I'd love to see the Buckeyes spring the home upset over UNC, but the Tarheels are an elite team. OSU is not, and the freshmen are still learning. UNC, and the ACC, for the W.

Not a great weekend for Hoosier fans:
The Women's soccer team lost at home to Duke, 2-0. The Hoosiers had their chances, but the Blue Devils go on. However, it was a great year for the Women's Soccer team, and with only one starter lost to graduation, next year could be even better.

The Men's soccer team (13-4-4) faces Bradley (15-5-3) at Bill Armstrong Stadium on Wednesday. I think the IU probably takes this one, but they really need to start scoring multiple goals or the season's over.

Go Hoosiers!

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beware the Musketeers!

IU faced a tougher test last night, but Eric Gordon has simply been too awesome for Indiana to change the way it's been playing. Illinois State went down 70-57, but didn't look bad doing it.

I noted in my last post the Xavier (or Kent St.) would be one of the tougher tests that IU will face this season. And the possibility of Indiana squaring off against a veteran backcourt- half of which may take this game personally (former Sampson point guard Drew Lavender)- without Ratliff or Bassett on hand is what I would've called a recipe for an upset.

Gordon's been awesome, and Crawford's been posting good numbers too, but they are both freshmen and shooting guards. Leading Rebounder & swingman Jamarcus Ellis is a nice passer, but hasn't shown a good outside shooting touch so far. Already IU hasn't been able to punish the opposition inside as DJ White and DeAndre Thomas are doing fine, but when IU needs bailing out, it's been all Eric Gordon, all the time this season. And Gordon played 39 minutes last night!

Fatigue's got to be a factor for Eric, and I think the key to beating Xavier tonight is going to be by deliberately attacking their frontcourt with DJ & DeAndre. If Bassett is playing, this will be easier. If not... Watch out.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving weekend: Thoughts and Previews

IU Men's Basketball:
The Hoosiers face Illinois State tonight, and while the Hoosiers are the more talented team, they can't overlook the Redbirds. ISU is a club on the way up, and handled UNC-Wilmington easily enough on their homecourt, and are playing close to home. They probably won't crack the top 4 in the MVC, but they've got an outside shot at qualifying for the NIT. Illinois State ranks 2nd right now in Basketball State's own rankings, and #34 in the early RPI. That said, computer rankings don't mean very much until mid-December, at least. But this should be a much better test of the Men's team.
Speaking of which, looking over the schedule, either Xavier or Kent State is probably going to supply the Hoosiers with their third-toughest non-conference game. At Southern Illinois (12/1) is nearly a guaranteed loss, while hosting Connecticut (1/26) should be the next toughest (non-Big 10) team we'll play. Kentucky and Georgia Tech are not the teams they were last season, even if they do manage to claw their way into the Big Dance. All that is just saying, Indiana's got a pretty easy schedule this year, but Xavier and Kent State are both capable of handing the Hoosiers their first loss.

IU Soccer
You can watch the men & women's games this weekend online! That is, if you're like me & several hundred miles from Bill Armstrong stadium. Were I in B-ton this weekend, I'd be freezing my posterior off this Sunday, sitting in the stands to support the IU Women's Soccer team remarkable NCAA run. They're just two wins away from a Final Four appearance, and hosting Duke at 2pm. Support 'em if you are around!

IU women's basketball
The Hoosiers suffered their first loss, 55-53 to Wake Forest. This despite 9 steals by IU guard Kim Roberson. Last season's leading scorer (Nikki Smith) shot 0-7, tho. Neither side shot very well, but it's always hard to look at a two-point game and then look at a 56% shooting line (9-16) on free-throws. The women's team has a decent core of veterans, but doesn't seem very tall (only one rotation player taller than 6'0") and despite a 3-1 record, doesn't seem to shoot very well (40% Fgs, 28% 3pt.FGs, 63% FTs). If they hope to improve on last season's 19-14 record and make a run for the NCAA tourney, they need to get the team's shooting fixed.

Elsewhere in Big Ten & College Basketball

I've watched a bit of Penn State's playing now, and I'm not sure what Ed DeChellis can do. Certainly getting talented newcomers Stanley Pringle and Talor Battle to run the offense more and shoot less (combined 5-24 FGs in loss to South Carolina) would be the first priority, and get the team to cut on turnovers (20 in same loss). But Penn State seems more impressive than last year's club, looking much more able to rebound and defend the perimeter. But they still can't seem to beat clubs they should be beating. South Carolina might have a shot at the NIT, but they also seem fairly likely to finish 11th or 12th in the SEC. Rider should win the MAAC, but should be 15th seed, at best. If the Nittany Lions can't finish South Carolina or Rider on a Neutral court, how are they going to win any road games in the Big Ten? Maybe it's just early season struggles, and DeChellis will find a way to get Battle & Pringle playing while creating shots for the shooters (Morrissey, Walker, and Claxton) instead of the themselves. Also, maybe some can give Brandon Hassell a tip about post defense, 'cause I'm not sure he knows what it is.

I've been able to watch a bit of college ball, and I was totally unsurprised by Western Michigan's win over Davidson, Rider beating PSU and giving NCSU a scare, Western Kentucky's nearly upsetting Gonzaga, Central Florida's strong challenge of Villanova, and George Mason's beating of Kansas State. All of these "underdog" teams I projected in the NCAA tourney, and Central Florida I predicted would be in the NIT (along with Villanova) at season's end. Today, watch if George Mason doesn't take down Villanova in another "upset."

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Men's Hoops!

So, IU wins by 24, didn't shoot as well on threes ("only" 43% for the game) and Gordon gets big highlight reels. As for my other predictions, the surprisingly close halftime score? Not so much. Gordon is so good, that he's just bailing IU out as he can score pretty much whenever he wants. The other teams get that look that JJ Redick's foes used to get in their eyes where all of their fear and attention is concentrated on that one scorer, and then Indiana is able to move the ball around for DJ or DeAndre to get easy twos or Bassett and Crawford get easy threes.

Indiana's points per possession remained basically the same, although the defense continues to improve.
1.27 ppp/0.86 oppp= +0.41

Again, the competition is less than stellar, so this weekend's games with Illinois State (who beat UNC-W by 17) and then Kent State or Xavier (both should be NCAA tourney teams) should make the Hoosiers have to react a little more strategically than just waiting for Eric Gordon to be awesome.

I've signed up for Basketball State, which isn't going to be really cool until some solid data comes in, but it is a pretty amazing site. But what else would you expect from Kyle Whelliston? I'm hoping that the $20 subscription proves worth it so I can stop all of my "home-cooking" of stats.

I watched Michigan State-UCLA, and it was pretty much a display of two different teams in two different halves for the Spartans. I've watched UCLA in a couple of games now, and they are a legit #1 and Kevin Love is a legit lottery pick next spring. But they were playing without Darren Collison, and they were already weak in the backcourt after Michael Roll's injury. MSU definitely should've beat them, if they were a legit Final Four team. But I think they still could be, if Izzo's freshmen improve a little.

When the freshmen were confident and loose, they made MSU's offense look normal. You spread the floor with a shooter, allow your big men to screen and hit the glass, and if the shot clock's low, you give the ball to a wing and allow him to penetrate. MSU's frosh guards were able to do that as long as UCLA was behind. When UCLA made a strong push in the second half, MSU got nervous and went back to old habits of running Nietzel into the ground. Drew had to launch long threes with men in his face, or they had to wait for UCLA to slip up defensively so they could get a backdoor play. And UCLA isn't going to let that keep happening. MSU's best clutch offense seemed to be springing Drew Naymick for baseline jumpers. Don't get me wrong, Naymick's a good player with a nice jumper, but that's not an offense that's going to make defenses scared or react. Getting Durrell Summers or Chris Allen slashing to the bucket might.

Also watched a bit of Duke taking apart Illinois. The Illini look like they don't have any idea what they want to do on offense. It's hard to believe that Bruce Weber coached one of the most dynamic offenses ever just a few years ago. Duke took away Shaun Pruitt, and Alexander & Meachem couldn't hit threes, and that was it. Duke is not a top-ten team, but Illinois made them look pretty good. The one bright spot was that Brian Randle looked pretty good with his back to the basket

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Northwestern finally got win, but it was over D-II Benedictine (it's gonna be a rough year in Evanston). Purdue barely squeaked by Lipscomb in West Lafayette. Perhaps projecting PU in the NIT was generous. Iowa moved to 4-0 with a win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. And while the Hawkeyes have done well to win without Tony Freeman (out with an injury), the competition's been pretty weak. The upcoming game at Bradley should provide a little clarity on their quality. Minnesota picked up probably the win of the night, beating Iowa State on the road. Of the new coaches, Tubby Smith has the best fit in personnel to succeed, I think.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

C'mon coach!

Evidently Sampson called UNC-Wilmington a "really good team."

I hope this is just positioning so that the players don't take a night off. Yeah, the Seahawks return 4 starters, and got a season-opening win against Charleston, but this is not a good team. Coming off a 7-22 season, my projection for the Seahwaks was mediocre at best (I have a really hard time seeing them finish higher than 7th in the CAA), and I stand by it. Todd Hendley (last seen by IU fans in Assembly Hall adding insult to injury in Wake Forest's 100-67 blowout of the hosting Hoosiers) has nice range for a 6-9 forward, and center Vladimir Kuljanin is a beast on the boards, but they had a bad defense last season and worse offense, and most RPI rankings had them in the 200's. I bet that their offense does improve a little this year, but I have a hard time seeing the interior defense improving much, and a bad turnover situation will keep them from moving too far up the rankings. This team is not anywhere in the same stratum as IU. Against similar competition, IU has a + 0.46 differential in points per possession while UNC-W has a -0.018. The Hoosiers should win by 20.

What I see happening tonight is that the threes probably don't fall as easily for IU (the Seahawks were actually okay at perimeter defense last season) leading to a reasonably close half-time score. But Sampson will use this opportunity to utilize his bigs, and DJ White and DeAndre Thomas will punish UNC-W in the paint. Jamarcus Ellis and Eric Gordon probably also take it to the hoop, and don't be surprised to see Lance Stemler and/or Brandon McGee get some good PT for a defensive match-up with Hendley.

Looks like the NCAA tournament Men's Soccer selection committee uses the RPI pretty closely, as the Hoosiers grabbed a #1 seed despite losing the conference championship. Usually that spells a #2, even for elite teams, and I'm not sure IU soccer is elite this year. Certainly the defense is, but the pub I've seen lately calling the offense "diverse" is just a really generous way of saying that the Hoosiers don't have a proven goal scorer. Kevin Noschang probably has the most talent and ability to get free, but doesn't seem to have a consistency in finishing. Brad Ring has a Scott Merritt-like nose for scrapping and making things happen around the goal, but he'd have a lot more assists if someone had the booming foot of Harry Weiss or the smooth skill of Aleksey Korol. In any case, Indiana needs to ride its defense and this bracket windfall to the Final Four.

In the tourney, a possible rematch with Ohio State looms, but I bet UCSB is the team IU will face in the Elite 8. The team I'm most worried about in all of this is IU. They need someone on the team to get on a hot-scoring streak, 'cause its hard to see anyone getting more than one goal on them in regulation, but its not hard to see the Hoosiers coming up empty in front of opponents' goals.

One the other side of the bracket, I'm hoping to see a Northwestern-UIC match-up in the second round, and not just because I've been a student at both. My first soccer coach, John Trask, got the Flames to the postseason, and Northwestern is part of what I'm pretty sure is a Big Ten conference record of 4 NCAA tourney teams (IU, NU, OSU, and Michigan State).

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Congrats, Hoosiers!

Sure, sure, IU Football won a squeaker against Purdue to move from bowl-eligible to bowl-likely, and the Men's Basketball killed Longwood (who was D-II not that long ago) 100-49 (in which the points per possession were again very nice at 1.33, but the defensive points per possession were much improved at 0.65), but the real impressive weekend for Hoosier athletes was the one that the Women's Soccer Team had!

Kristin Arnold must have ice in her veins, as she scored the overtime golden goal against Toledo to send IU into a rematch with Purdue. As I suggested earlier, the IU-PU game was much closer than the 7-0 slaughter that Purdue had just perpetrated upon the Hoosier women, and I expected an OT game. But I didn't expect the Hoosiers to come out on top in PKs. Kristin Arnold netted the game-winning PK, and the Hoosiers move on to the sweet 16!
Congratulations to all the Hoosier athletes this weekend, but in all the hoopla about IU Football getting to a bowl, don't forget to recognize the best post-season performance by a Hoosier women's soccer team to date.

Go Hoosiers!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Vacation ends, back to winter

I managed a quick vacation in Florida before the Chicago-area winter sets in, but the week's events in Hoosier sports and college hoops have not escaped my attention.

The Hoosiers made it to the Big Ten Championship game, but fell in penalty kicks to Ohio State after (yet again) failing to score. The Hoosiers should have an at-large bid sewn up with a top ten ranking and sitting pretty with a #3 RPI. The women's squad qualified for the NCAA tourney, and faces Toledo in the first round with a possible re-match against Purdue in the second round. Purdue handed them their worst loss of the year a couple of weeks ago, skunking them 7-0. While I bet if these teams meet again, you won't see such a lop-sided score, it's hard to see Indiana women turning in an 8-goal improvement. But Soccer's a funny game.

The Hoosiers got four commitments, highlighted by combo forward Devin Ebanks. As this is a top-15 class, coach Kelvin Sampson shows he can get the recruits. It's frustrating, because Sampson's obviously a hard worker and solid coach, but this foolishness with the phones is giving the formerly clean Hoosiers a shady rep. And really, it's just foolishness that's getting compounded by a nervous athletic department. But if Sampson can't follow the rules, or get his staff to follow the rules, then as a Hoosier fan, I don't want to be in the awkward position of having to defend really dumb choices yet again (Mike Davis and his lack of on-court awareness and Bobby Knight's boorish and bullying behavior). And it all is a big shame, because I see more hard-working talent in the cream-and-crimson than I've seen in nearly 15 years.
IU's blow-out of Pembrooke in the second exhibition game was a nice example of the talent on hand, and Ben Fulton has a nice write up of the impressiveness of the Hoosier win, but as we all know, the exhibition games don't go into the W or L columns. The 3-pt shooting was impressive, but for me it was surprising to see Brandon McGee's 4 threes, and 18 points in 17 minutes. McGee might end up taking time away from Stemler as the season progresses, it's no wonder they red-shirted Mike White.
The game that did count revealed a surprising short bench, even as the Hoosiers pulled away for a 99-79 victory over Chattanooga. Sampson stuck with a 7-man rotation and only put in Holman and McGee in for 3 minutes apiece. I expected the Mocs to finish in the middle of Southern Conference, at best, so this wasn't the stiffest test. However, the Hoosiers don't seem afraid to run this year, posting a 78-possession game (they only averaged 62.7 in conference play). While the game served as a coming-out party for Eric Gordon --and while I just saw the highlights, I still was very impressed-- DeAndre Thomas showed he can play with DJ, and Jamarcus Ellis did a lot of good stuff without scoring. Armon Bassett also shot lights-out and and Jordan Crawford continues to do a great "microwave" impression off the bench. I was hoping for more from Lance Stemler, and I don't know what's going on with him right now. I hope he can shake whatever it is that's got him down right now, because he can bring some stability to this squad, which is going to be necessary in Big Ten road games.
Just like last year, the Hoosiers got a lot of accolades for their defense, but the Mocs averaged 1.01 points per possession for the game. Not terrible, but not great. To be fair, it was the second half effort that got lauded, not the first. But the Hoosier offense yielded an outstanding 1.27 points per possession. We might be looking at another okay year on defense, but possibly an even better offensive squad than last season, which is no mean feat.
The Hoosiers play Longwood (a D-II program not that long ago) on Sunday, but they probably won't be tested until the 24th when they play either Kent State or Xavier.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sports Weekend

Indiana Basketball:
The Hoosiers walloped poor North Alabama 121-76 to open exhibition play, and Eric Gordon put in 24 even with a broken tooth. Other impressive performances were Jordan Crawford throwing in 30 (he could be our Corey Maggette-esque super-sub this year), Jamarcus Ellis stuffing the stat-sheet and getting 6 steals, and DJ White recording 6 assists and zero turnovers. The offense looks top-notch again, but the defense may still be a question. It's hard to tell anything when the score's this lopsided, tho.
The Hoosier Scoop has a good analysis.

Indiana Soccer:
Another 0-0 tie has me a little nervous. The upside is that the Hoosiers are going into the postseason strong, but they've had a little too much trouble generating goals, or for that matter, shots on goal. They outshot Wisconsin 23-7, but only got 7 shots on goal. Still, there's only one loss (in OT) in their last 12 games, but I'm just hoping they're saving all of their good luck for this month's games.

Indiana Football:

The Hoosiers beat Ball State as expected, and made themselves bowl-eligible. But I really think they have to beat Purdue at home to snag an actual bid. I don't expect them to beat Northwestern on the road as the Wildcats are in a very similar position, which will leave them with a must-win in the final game against a, let's face it, superior Boilermaker football club. But the Boilers aren't so much better than they can walk into B-ton and expect a win. IU's got a real shot at the upset.

Watched a bit of the Patriots-Colts game. Sure, the Colts folded and lost late as they couldn't run the ball and had some crazy plays go New England's way, but it is just one game in the regular season. I think if Marvin Harrison is playing, this is an entirely different game. The Colts probably pick at least one more TD if sure-handed Marvin is in, and the threat would've opened up a lot more space Reggie Wayne and Joseph Addai's short and mid-range games. I'd much rather lose this one with its funny fumbles going straight into NE's hands and Colts' receivers dropping passes than have all that happen to Indy in the AFC championship game, which is where they'll probably meet again.

I'm not terribly surprised by Boston's good start (nice clutch shooting from Ray against the Raptors last night), but I am surprised by Chicago's terrible start. Are they too distracted by all the Kobe drama or is just the rash of injuries that's killing them? They'd better get over it, 'cause I think they're the only ones in the East who're going to be able to bring down Boston's momentum. Miami and Detroit's time has passed, although Detroit will still be dangerous. It's hard to see anyone in the East taking the championship, tho. The Pacers are 3-0, which is great, 'cause this year should be pretty tough. Get the winning attitude now, get some respect early, and maybe even sneak into the playoffs again. It's a longshot, but you never know.
San Antonio still is way too good not to pick out of the West, but if Phoenix pulls together, they could definitely knock off the defending champs. Houston's starting well, and got a nice addition in Luis Scola, but I see another first-round disappointment from the Rockets. All-in-all, when the day is done, I'd still put the smart money on the Spurs. Too good defensively and too smart offensively, it'll take a weird fluke or a bad injury to knock them off the mountain.

Full 100-team 2007-2008 CBB Prognostication

100 teams previewed & projected!

Update I and Big 10 remainders:

Where am I doubting myself? (besides Auburn & Georgia)

#2 Memphis, #24 Duke, #40 Notre Dame too high?
#9 Kansas, #38 Oregon, #48 Kentucky too low?

NIT: Oklahoma will probably finish above of Texas Tech in the Big XII, but it'll be deserving MAC team/s that will get clipped for the Sooners.