At one point in a basketball game played between Indiana and Notre Dame on Saturday night, Verdell Jones let his eyes go wide. He turned to his cheering teammates.
“I’m on fire, yo,” he said.
Well, his video game likeness was actually the one playing well, having hit a 3-pointer and gone hard to the hole for a thunderous dunk to spark a run that would allow teammate Devan Dumes to beat Notre Dame All-American forward Luke Harangody 33-20 in the first round of the NCAA Basketball 2009 video game tournament.
(A brief aside: isn’t it a bit strange how the NCAA prevents EA from using the athletes’ actual names under the guise of “amateurism” but then allows all the virtual players to be designed and built like the real players they actually represent?)
Dumes’ run would end in the second round. Daniel Moore, the other player to represent Indiana, could not get past Tory Jackson in the first round.
Here’s a story that will run in The Herald-Times tomorrow:
MAUI, Hawaii â€” There are three basketball teams temporarily residing on this island that have a legitimate chance to make it to the Final Four in five months.
Then, there is Indiana. For the Hoosiers, this trip is an initial step in a process that will take much longer. For Tom Crean and his crew, there is no temptation to look ahead to March. Leave that to No. 1 North Carolina, No. 7 Texas and No. 8 Notre Dame, which Indiana opens the tournament with today at 5:30 p.m. (EST).
What the Hoosiers are working for lies so far ahead in the future that seizing the chance to improve today is the only option.
â€œThe biggest thing for our program right now with all of the players that we have that are so new to this is learn how to compete on a consistent and daily basis,â€ Crean said at a morning press conference about 300 yards from the water crashing onto Kaâ€™anapali beach. â€œNo matter what happens over this tournament and over the next few days we will learn where we stand in that.â€
Maui, as you may have guessed, flourishes with life of all kinds. We met a lizard in our hotel hallway the other day. Birds of all sorts sit outside our windows, some making the most harmonious tweets and twits and others that sound as if they are choking on a bad piece of pineapple.
Today â€” and for the next three days â€” it will be alive with basketball.
All eight coaches who have teams in the 2009 Maui Invitational are about to hold a joint press conference, which will be moderated by ESPN’s Jay Bilas, in a broad courtyard at the Westin. We’ve got a view of the ocean, and it is much more pleasing than Phil Martelli (no offense, Phil.)
There will be a free-throw shooting contest after the press conference. Who do you pick to win?
Just a quick note for you all to wake up to.
A small contingent of reporters covering the Indiana basketball team has gathered here in Maui. It has been raining since we got here. They say it never rains here. They say this apologetically. We don’t mind. Really. It is still glorious.
The festivities officially get under way Sunday morning at 8 a.m. (1 p.m. EST) with a press conference featuring all the coaches. We’ll update you on what they have to say.
Tonight, Matt Dollinger and James Brosher of the IDS and Mike Pegram of Peegs.com and I went to a party thrown for all the teams by EA Sports, which of course featured an NCAA Basketball 2009 tournament on Xbox 360. Though I will have more coverage of that later on Sunday, let me say that IU did not advance to the Final Four even though Devan Dumes dominated Luke Harangody.
The football season ended today, and quite dramatically so. Though that season is over there still seems to be plenty that needs to be covered. But during this Thankgiving week Indiana fans will no doubt turn their attention to Tom Crean’s first test against high-major competition.
Check in later for full coverage.
The Indianapolis law firm of Ice Miller has charged Indiana University $460,840.76 through the end of July for its work on the NCAA’s investigation into the men’s basketball program.
In the most recent bills sent to the university â€” received through a public records request made by The Herald-Times â€” Ice Miller billed IU for 687.30 hours from April 1st through July 31. The total bill, including expenses, for that period came to 211,034.37.
The three Ice Miller attorneys that worked on the case were heavily involved in preparation for Indiana’s hearing with the Committee on Infractions in Seattle in June, the records show.Â They also represented IU there.
Indiana had been charged $249,806.39 from July 2007 â€” when an intern in the compliance office found 3-way calling patterns and spurred the hiring of the law firm with strong NCAA ties â€” through March of this year.
Indiana has been charged with failing to monitor â€” a major violation â€” the former men’s basketball coaching staff, two members of which face charges that they violated NCAA recruiting rules. Former head coach Kelvin Sampson, now an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, and former assistant Rob Senderoff, who returned to Kent State as an associate head coach, have been accused of purposely circumventing limits put on contact with recruits.
A decision on the case is expected any day. Though the NCAA does not comment on ongoing cases, it appears as though the committee on infractions is in the process of completing a document that details its findings and any punishments given to the university or the former coaches.
The Indiana basketball team is currently en route to Maui after taking an early flight this morning. Team members stayed in Indianapolis last night and will arrive in Hawaii at about 8:30 tonight. The players have not practiced since beating IUPUI 60-57 on Tuesday night and aren’t scheduled to be back on the court until Friday.
The Hoosiers open the Maui Invitational with Notre Dame at 5:30 (EST) Monday.
As we reported earlier today, Verdell Jones is OK after hurting his ankle in the second half of the IUPUI game.
Big opportunity here – your last chance to chat with Mr. Korman before we send him off to Maui Friday!
So what’s on your mind — Bucket Week, the first two games of the Tom Crean era or maybe my good fortune in visiting West Lafayette this weekend while Chris is stuck in Hawaii?Â
Join us Thursday at 11 to talk about all that and more. You can submit your questions and comments by clicking here. Â Â