Monday, December 08, 2008

Gonzaga better than IU:
When teams don't hit their threes or all their frees, we don't look so terrible. This was something of a moral victory, as IU hung around close enough to engage the press-and-foul strategy in a not-entirely-futile-hope at the end of the game. They've got a little to learn there, too, though. However, a bit of concern: IU's turnovers are getting worse, or at least not getting better.
This team looks capable of rebounding okay, and hitting some threes to keep us in games, but until we trim our turnovers down, it'll be hard to be competitive. Btw, don't expect Jeremiah Rivers to be the answer at point next year. Going over his KenPom profile from his two years at Georgetown, he had the fewest assists and the highest turnover rate both years. He might serve as a stopper, but that's it. Now comes what should be a revealing stretch of non-conference play: TCU at home and Kentucky on the road. 1-1 would be a pretty good outcome, and while Kentucky's not all that good this year, but I'd be surprised if we were in it at the end of that road game.

*Big Ten Basketball to get 5+ Bids?
I had penciled in the conference for 4 bids, barely, but that looks to be changing with middle of the conference looking quite good now.
Big surprise: Michigan takes down Duke, who clearly seemed the better team in an earlier match. granted it was at home, and it points out that Duke's deficiencies are probably the same ones they had last season, but still, a very big win. And Ohio State beat Notre Dame on a neutral floor, and having that plus the Miami-Fla. road win in their pockets looks pretty good on their at-large resume. These two plus Michigan State, Purdue, and Wisconsin would seem to put the conference in good standing for at least five bids. It's early, and Michigan's inconsistency does put a question mark on their ability to do well enough in the conference to earn that bid. But they're now in the driver's seat. Also, don't look now, but Minnesota (8-0), Illinois (7-1) & Northwestern (6-1) are all doing quite well. Yes, yes, I know it's Northwestern, but NU probably has the best "quality win" of the three so far when they terrorized Florida State in the second half of the ACC-Big 10 challenge game, and FSU just went on to beat Florida this last weekend. The Wildcat's only blemish was a narrow loss to Butler who is currently undefeated.

*IU Soccer goes down. 3-2 in OT.
In 1994, I saw the string of Championship game appearances end for varsity soccer four-year players. This weekend, the string of College Cup (Final Four) appearances for varsity soccer four-year players has also come to an end. All good things, I guess. This year's team was soclose, they were battle-tested, tough defensively and peaking at the right time. I think if IU had managed to get homefield advantage, they'd be looking to play at least one more game. A game they should've had, but another late goal (three, actually) sneaks in to once again rob IU of the victory.

At this point though, all you can do is appreciate the effort of departing seniors
Brad Ring, Chay Cain & John Mellencamp,Brian Ackley, Kevin Noschang, Billy Weaver (as well as Doug Reisinger, Nick Sutter, & anyone else?) They'll be missed, but Indiana Soccer should actually be in a little better shape next year. IU'll be more experienced, and our wunderkind freshmen, Will Bruin & Tommy Meyer will be more comfortable being go-to guys at their positions. As long as Michael Munroe can take over goalkeeping duties as well as his brother, and Freitag can snag a talented freshman or two to juice our offense just a little more, Freitag should have a title contender on his hands next season. If not, he's actually going to start be looking at a warming seat, especially with other IU Soccer former players/asst. coaches doing well at other venues: (John Trask at UIC, Caleb Porter at Akron) I don't think this should be anything weighing on Coach's mind throughout 2009, but maybe the players ought to be aware going into next season. Work hard, guys, and let this OT loss burn you a little bit. Anything short of the College Cup next year should not be considered a success.

Go Hoosiers!

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