Sunday, September 28, 2008

Indiana Sports thoughts

Way to go, Coach Crean! IU just picked up a needed big man (6-11 Bawa Muniru) to fill out a surprisingly solid 2009-2010 class in tough times (under the cloud of a NCAA investigation & probable sanctions of some kind) to follow a nice couple of late commitments (6-8 combo forward Christian Watford & 6-4 scorer Maurice Creek). Add in bangers Derek Elston & Bobby Capobianco along with rising BHSS point guard Jordan Hulls, and the Hoosiers could be back in Big Ten contention right on schedule. I said earlier that Crean needs to have the Hoosiers making noise by 2010-2011 or irrevocable damage might be done to the Hoosier "brand." If Crean is able to put together a solid team out of the pieces from this year, next year, and just sang one or two top recruits for 2010-2011, look out! But that's a long ways away.

I've watched a couple of Hoosier games. And honestly, these Hoosiers aren't that bad. They remind a little of the later Bill Mallory teams, with a little more offensive spark (the first drive v. MSU had the Spartans scratching their heads), but just can't seem to get the breaks. However, I gotta say, when it comes down to it, IU just can't match up to stop conference foes running games, and until that happens, they'll never threaten for a top 3 Big Ten finish.

I know the Hoosiers just dropped a game to UCSB at home, dropping them to 4-2-2, but honestly, when I've watched them play on the Big Ten network, these guys have championship-caliber talent, passing, and great defense. But they're still struggling with consistency and that killer instinct. Not that the sparks of that aren't there (Mellencamp & Ring are good two-way competitors), but it just hasn't quite clicked yet. But I think Tommy Meyer & Will Bruin make this club a lot more dangerous than it was last season. Meyer's long ball-ability give the Hoosiers the ability to attack through a very-nice build-up or immediately by hitting Alexander or Bruin and going at speed. Look for these guys to finish the season strong, as long as they put in the work on the field & learn from these early struggles.

Go Hoosiers!

Basketball season is less than a month away.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Might as well post while I have a second

It's getting to be a crazy time of year for me at work & school, but I start getting free time just around the time that Midnight Madness starts. (Wow, only 5 weeks?)

IU Men's Soccer had a nice couple of West Coast wins to bounce back after a head-scratching 4-0 defeat from Dartmouth. I watched the overtime 0-0 tie with Akron on the Big Ten network. Former Hoosier hardman Caleb Porter is coaching the Zips, and his Hoosier roots show in his team. I was pretty impressed with Akron, and IU was somewhat lucky not to come away with a loss. The Hoosier fundamentals & decision-making in the attacking third of the field were somewhat lacking, but IU was the deeper and more-talented team and did seem to wear down the Zips as play went on. However, the Zips did seem to be the better-coached, or at least the more veteran squad. Maybe last weekend shows that Frietag is finally getting through. There's a lot of potential here, as long as the Hoosiers can start working for quality chances instead of taking the first 20-yd power blast available.

If you're looking for a good team-by-team daily preview of next season, Joel Welser has a good top 144 run-down at College Hoops Net.

Also, for some Indiana basketball views and news, the Hoosier Report looks at Crean's MU teams per-possession stats, which are encouraging, even if he won't have the same experienced personnel on hand this season. But Jody Demling is singing the praises of Crean's recruiting efforts for the 2009 class. I admit, I'm also impressed now that he's snagged combo forward Christian Watford, and has another good big man in his sights. Not a bad comeback considering all of the fallout in the wake of the Sampson dismissal. But, it's not as if there are any true blue-chippers here, and these guys will be freshmen next fall, meaning that it'll probably be three seasons from now before we can get a real good look at what a Crean-led Hoosier squad will look like.