It’s been a while since I’ve been able to throw out a good, debatable thought for you guys out there. But with the tournament a few days away, I figured we’d have to have at least one or two. I’ve been away from Bloomington the past week (my last college spring break, spent in the Caribbean sun, which needless to say has made Bloomington’s weather all that much worse) and have just taken the last few days to catch up to all the madness here. Here’s a few of my thoughts that hopefully will generate some good debate:
- I spoke with former IU standout Tom Coverdale yesterday for a bit about this Hoosier squad, the Arkansas team they face Friday night (who beat Coverdale’s University of Louisiana-Monroe team 85-60 earlier this season), and how he thinks the head coaching search should go. The one thing he noted about the Razorbacks is their athleticism and how much they attack teams defensively. “The one area they like to hurt you in is down low because they have so much depth,” he said. “D.J. White will have his hands full.” Also, he said he supports Dan Dakich and believes IU should give him a full year to see what he can do behind the Hoosiers’ bench.
- Anyone else a little surprised about the timing of IU’s announcement of the 10-man search committee? I’m sure this point has been brought up before, but it clearly comes at an interesting time. Why announce it in the days leading up to Indiana’s first round game? Surely, the one person that can’t be too happy about it is Dan Dakich and rightfully so. But, in interviews after the announcement was made, Dakich gave all the right, politically correct answers to reporters in saying that all he’s focused on this week was getting his team ready to play Friday night. It’s practically a shot in the face to Dakich, who, like he has throughout this whole debacle, has been a true class act.
- Indiana got absolutely ripped by the NCAA committee. There’s just no way around it. This team is 25-7! Maybe it’s a shot at the Big Ten. Actually, it is certainly a shot at the Big Ten. But an eight seed? For a team that was in the Top-25 all season and was in the running for the Big Ten title as late as the second-to-last game of conference play? For me, if anything, this just shows how much the committee weighs in the team’s final stretch of games, because that was where Indiana was at its worst. Losing to Penn State on the road and Minnesota were backbreakers for the Hoosiers.
- Lastly, how’s everyone’s bracket looking? Final Four picks? Major upsets? I can’t say I have too many, mainly because I believe the No. 1 schools are very, very sound clubs and it’s going to take a lot for someone to beat them. I do have Memphis falling before San Antonio (my only No. 1 seed to fall before the Final Four) in part because I can’t say I think the Conference USA schedule did a lot to prepare them for these types of games. Honestly, how can road environments like Rice, Southern Methodist and East Carolina really prepare you for an Elite Eight matchup against Texas, Stanford or Pitt?
That’s about it for now. As always, it will be a great weekend for college basketball fans. Can’t think of a better time of year. As for Indiana fans, it’s hard to tell which Hoosier squad will show up Friday night in Raleigh. No one doubts their potential, but whether they’re able to play as a team on the offensive end and avoid costly mistakes will play a major role in whether or not they’re able to get the victory. They’ll have to face up against Arkansas’ speed and athleticism. They’ll have to, somehow, combat the Razorback’s size down low. Should be a great game.