Puerto Rico field finalized; UAB out

A press release for you….

ESPN Regional Television, Inc. (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, announced today the complete field for the 2009 O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off, to be held Nov. 19-22 at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico, located in the cosmopolitan Hato Rey district of San Juan.

The field for the third annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off will include Boston University, Dayton, George Mason, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Villanova. UAB, which had been previously announced as part of the field, will be unable to participate due to a scheduling conflict.

Four of the eight teams announced reached the 2008-09 postseason. Villanova and Dayton played in the NCAA Tournament, with the Wildcats reaching the Final Four and the Flyers advancing to the second round. George Mason and Kansas State played in the National Invitation Tournament.

“The Puerto Rico Tip-Off continues to develop into a premier basketball tournament, as this year’s field represents outstanding conferences from around the country,” said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President and General Manager, ESPN Regional Television. “We’re looking forward to this event, in its third year, showcasing such quality competition and a memorable experience for the fans, student-athletes, coaches and staff on and off the court in the great destination of San Juan.”

The 2009 O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off will feature 12 games in three days, Nov. 19-22. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match Sunday, Nov. 22.

In November 2008, Xavier defeated Memphis, 63-58, in the championship game. Both teams were eventually ranked in the top 10 in the polls later in the season. Miami (Fla.) won the inaugural O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off in 2007.

Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off Web site at <> .

IU baseball signs Knoblauch kin


Indiana baseball picked up a big commitment Friday, when 6-foot-4, 215-pound Trace Knoblauch signed with the Hoosiers. From an IU press release:

The Indiana baseball team has announced that Trace Knoblauch has signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Hoosiers in the fall of 2009. Knoblauch, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound first baseman and outfielder, is currently in his third year with Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas, playing under Rocky Manuel.

“Trace has been a leader of one of the best baseball programs in the country, and he has a strong baseball pedigree,” IU Head Coach Tracy Smith said. “He is a power hitter who can drive the ball to all fields, and with his size, he could become a big-time player in the Big Ten. He’s also a young man who is gifted academically, so we know he’ll be a great addition to the university as a whole as well as to our team.”

Knoblauch comes from a baseball background, as he is the third generation of Knoblauchs to coach or play for Bellaire High School. The team plays on Ray Knoblauch Field, named after Trace’s grandfather, who was the longtime coach of the team. Ray and his brother Eddie Knoblauch both had long careers in the Texas League, and Trace’s uncle, Chuck Knoblauch, played 12 years in the major leagues and was a four-time all-star who finished his career with 407 stolen bases.

Knoblauch is currently hitting .450 with five home runs and 30 RBI. He is the team captain of a Bellaire squad that is ranked first in the nation by Baseball America at 20-1-1. The high school season has been suspended in the state due to health concerns.

I remember Chuck Knoblauch (pictured above) fondly. I was a second baseman, and he played second base. After Mark Lemke, he was perhaps my second-favorite second baseman (and I was more than a bit of a baseball nut, so that meant something). He was a star for the Minnesota Twins, went the New York Yankees and got the yips. Couldn’t make the throw to first base and, well, that’s important.

For Indiana, this is a fairly big commitment. Texas has a lot of good baseball players — 63 Texans are in the major leagues right, second-best to California.

New traffic patterns for IU football games

If you’ve done any traveling around the Big Ten during football season, you know that one of the greatest mysteries known to man is how Indiana manages to have some of the worst traffic on game day while also having the smallest crowds. It defies logic.

This year, things could even be worse. Construction to the 45/46 Bypass will choke the avenues usually used to reach the stadium.

Never fear. IU has a plan. You can discern it from the diagrams below.

New football traffic patternsNew traffic pattern

A Farewell to Doug

Doug Wilson has been covering Indiana athletics for The Herald-Times for the last seven years. He’s been sports editor for the past three. He’s chronicled the strange end of Mike Davis, the rise and demise of Kelvin Sampson and the efforts of Tom Crean to resurrect the program. It was through Doug’s words that you read of the energy Terry Hoeppner brought to the Hoosiers football program, and of the illness that took Hoeppner … and of how it failed to extinguish the hope he’d instilled in so many.

Our Thursday chat — at the usual time of 11 a.m. but not at the usual place — will be an informal discussion of all Doug has seen and covered in his time here. You can use the chat window below to ask questions, share observations or even gripe about his work.

If I knew how to make it so that when you clicked on this post the Boys II Men song about saying goodbye began playing on an endless loop, I would.

Indiana’s APR still low

According to documents released by the NCAA today, the Indiana basketball program has a four-year Academic Progress Rate of 866.

That ranks 325 out of 341 Division I schools.

The basketball program received two punishments because of its number, which dropped from 899. It was docked two scholarships (that penalty was pre-emptively served last season) and given a public notice.

If Indiana does not begin to show improvement in the APR it could open itself to more severe penalties.

Athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement that he believes the program is headed in the right direction under Tom Crean, whose teams at Marquette complied a 970 APR score (third-highest in the Big East).

Indiana’s complete release and links to more information on the APR can be found after the jump.


Not at all related to IU, but interesting nonetheless


Washington Capitals photo

Donald Brashear, the NHL’s Washington Capitals’ enforcer, was born in Bedford. But, as Mike Wise so expertly reported in the Washington Post, Brashear’s time in Bedford is far from a happy one.

(Brashear’s mother, Nicole) met Donald’s father in 1967 when he was on weekend leave from the U.S. Air Force radar station in St. Albans, Vt., less than 20 miles from the Canadian border. Johnny Brashear was 22, already in the throes of alcohol addiction, and she was 19, a hardened product of Quebec’s foster-care system, when she became pregnant. They moved to Bedford, Ind., about 75 miles south of Indianapolis, to be married. By the age of 24, she had given birth to three children — Lorraine, Johnny Jr. and Donald, the baby.

“He was a beautiful child,” Gauthier said. “He had an innocence about him.”

Johnny drank to get drunk, building up enough tolerance so he could down a pint of Seagram’s VO Canadian whiskey in three swallows. He would lose money at cards and come home angry and hungry, telling his wife to make him something to eat.

“If I rubbed my eyes to wake up, he’d grab me by the hair and pull me out of bed saying, ‘I mean now!’ ” Gauthier said. “He’d say, ‘Shut the baby up.’ If Donald didn’t stop crying, his dad would grab him by the arm and throw him across the room. He was 6 months old when that happened.”

He whipped Donald with belts and electrical cords and whatever else he could find during drunken rages that left welts and bruises all over the little boy’s body.


Meet the new assistant

I had an interview this morning with new IU women’s basketball assistant coach Amaka Agugua.

She has spent the last three years on Beth Morgan Cunningham’s staff at VCU. In case you don’t know, Cunningham is the daughter of former IU baseball coach Bob Morgan and was an Indiana All-Star at Bloomington South. Anyway, I’ll have more on that in a story for tomorrow’s paper/web.

But one of Agugua’s touted strengths coming in is as a recruiter. Being just three years away from her own playing days (under Coach Legette-Jack at Hofstra), she brings a credibility and relatibility to the kids she is talking with. Here’s what she had to say:

“I’m a younger coach, so I’m at an age where the kids respect me, but I can relate. (I’m) not saying none of the (other coaches) do, not like they’re old and grey, but it’s always good to have somebody younger on the staff that can relay the message to the kids No. 1, then as far as recruiting relate to what’s going on, what kind of music, that kind of stuff.”

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