Saturday’s game at Assembly Hall has been scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
The IU Alumni Association will host a Big Red Warm-Up at the DeVault Alumni Center prior to the game, which pits the Hoosiers (18-14) with the winner of Thursday’s tilt between Radford and James Madison. The Warm-Up will begin at 5 p.m. with the IU pep band and cheerleaders in attendance. Food and beverages will be available.
Contact Aimee Hansell at the IU Alumni Association to make a reservation.
e-mail: [email protected]
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.
Here’s your chance to try to prove what many have long suspected — that Chris and I have no idea what we’re talking about.
We’ve submitted five brackets each for an NCAA Tournament “Bracket Busters” contest being held by The Hoosier Times (our group of newspapers in Bloomington, Bedford and Martinsville). If you enter, you’ll be able to track your success as compared to us and others as each game in the tournament ends. Leaders and winners in the contest will be published in the newspaper and continuously at our Bracket Busters site.
There is a cost to enter this contest. It’s $10 for one bracket, $20 for three brackets and $30 for five brackets. You have a much better chance of winning this contest than the national ones you see that have thousands of participants. In our contest, people will compete only against others who enter on our Web site. The prizes in our contest are $500 for 1st place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place.
To check out our contest, click here.
Chris and I are not eligible to win awards in the contest. We’re just there for your amusement. I’ll also disclose that my bracket No. 4 was filled out by H-T computer guru Tom Callahan. So maybe I’ve got a winner with that one, although Tom – an IU basketball nut – reports that his wife routinely schools him with her picks.
Here’s our brackets:
Sonny Weems â€” what a great name for a basketball player â€” injured his knee in practice today, but it appears as though he’ll be able to play Friday night against Indiana.
Weems, a 6-6 forward who 14.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Razorbacks, limped out of practice.
Later, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said he thought Weems’ injury was not serious.
The No. 2 small forward in the class of 2008 is no longer committed to Indiana.
Devin Ebanks, a 6-9 wing from New York City, has requested a release from the letter of intent he signed with Indiana in November. Indiana will honor his request because Ebanks negotiated an out in the agreement in the event that Kelvin Sampson no longer be the coach of the Hoosiers’ basketball team.
A New York source told The Herald-Times Tuesday that Ebanks is still considering IU and will watch the situation in Bloomington closely. He does not expect to make any sort of a decision until after the NCAA Tournament, and IU is expected to either have a coach in place by that time or name one shortly after.
Ebanks is going to listen to pitches from Rutgers â€” one of the schools he was originally interested in â€” as well as Texas and Memphis. There’s still a possibility that one other school could enter the mix, according to a source close to the situation. The source said that Ebanks will basically be re-recruited, taking visits and meeting with coaches. Both Memphis and Texas are playing in the tournament â€” as a No. 1 and a No. 2 seed, respectively â€” but even if they were eliminated early it seems unlikely that Ebanks would be able to make visits until after the tournament.
Ebanks spent last weekend in Indiana, first taking in the Hoosiers’ quarterfinal loss in the Big Ten Tournament on Friday. He met with athletic director Rick Greenspan on Saturday to discuss the search for a new coach and other issues surrounding the program (such as the looming NCAA hearing).
Released by IU this afternoon â€“ the Hoosiers have signed Fort Wayne wide receiverÂ Damarlo Belcher.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head coach Bill Lynch announced Damarlo Belcher has signed a National Letter of Intent and will attend Indiana University in the fall of 2008.
Belcher, a wide receiver from North Side High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., stands 6-5 and weighs 210 pounds. The big target earned second team Summit Athletic Conference (SAC) honors and set the North Side single-season record with 688 receiving yards last year. Belcher played for head coach Casey Kolkman and earned three letters.
"We are excited to have Damarlo join our football program," Lynch said. "He is an outstanding two-sport athlete who comes from a great athletics conference in Fort Wayne. Damarlo will be a great addition to our program."
In addition, he earned two letters in basketball and collected first team SAC and all-area honors in 2007. Belcher also claimed the team's rebounding award in the same season.
On Saturday at Assembly Hall, Indiana (18-14) will host the winner of Radford at James Madison, a first-round game to be played on Thursday at 7 p.m. Saturday’s game time is yet to be determined. Check out the full bracket here.
It is the second straight season the Hoosiers have received an at-large bid to the WNIT tournament, and both years were picked to host a second-round game after a bye. Last year, the Hoosiers beat Iona by three points in Bloomington behind 18 points from Nikki Smith, one of four IU players in double digits. Smith’s two free throws with about 15 seconds left helped ice the game for Indiana, which overcame a second-half deficit and 32 points from Iona forward Martina Weber. The Hoosiers then lost at South Dakota State.
Radford (23-11) earned an automatic berth, reserved for the highest finishing team in a conference that didn’t make the NCAA Tourney (Michigan State got the Big Ten’s), after losing the Big South championship for the second year running on a last-second shot. It’s the first postseason appearance since 1996 for the Highlanders, whose starting five all average double figure scoring and are led by 6-3 senior center Kelli Darden (12.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg).
James Madison (22-9) also got an automatic bid by way of the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dukes are in the postseason for the third consecutive year and are paced by the conference’s Player of the Year in senior guard Tamera Young, who sports a double-double average of 19.3 points and 10.0 boards per outing. Young became the school’s all-time leading scorer this season.
Besides the Spartans, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin also made the 48-team field, giving the Big Ten nine teams of 11 playing in the postseason.