Still unchallenged after all these years

Kentucky, the last undefeated team this season, lost to South Carolina tonight.

The 1976 Hoosiers will remain the last team to win the national championship without losing a single game.

Savor it, Indiana fans. Here’s what Sports Illustrated had to say about the title-clinching game.

Somewhere, Bob Knight might be smiling.

Crean and Legette-Jack on same team

Indiana women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack noted after last Thursday’s win over Northwestern that IU men’s coach Tom Crean had helped her team make a few adjustments to its defense.

While she declined to share those details after Tuesday’s practice, Legette-Jack said the two basketball coaches enjoy exchanging ideas.

“I just want everybody to know we communicate, and we’re in this thing together,” she said. “He wants to be great, I want to be great. We talk with each other about certain ways that he plays defense, and I steal ideas from him. He steals ideas from me, and I just think that he is an unbelievable basketball coach.
“I have a lot of respect for him, and I’m so glad that he allows me to sit in on his meetings and talks with me. I hope I can add something to him in his quest to be great, too.”

Legette-Jack said she has always worked in an environment of cooperation between the men’s and women’s basketball programs dating back to her days at Syracuse as well as Michigan State.

“You have Boeheim over at Syracuse and Bernie Fine and Mike Hopkins and Louis Orr, you’d be crazy not to utilize that,” she said. “I keep stepping up and sometimes the doors get closed in your face, but Tom Crean not only opens the door, he gives you his information, and it’s an honor.”

Selby’s Mother: List not down to two

I just asked Josh Selby’s mother Maeshon Witherspoon — via text message, her preferred method of communication — if the internet report saying that the No. 4 recruit in the 2010 class is down to Kansas and Arizona are true. She answered with a one-word response that will be at least slightly comforting to Indiana fans.


I then asked if Indiana is still involved and what if any visits are scheduled. That query has not yet received a response.

This is not to say that Adam Zagoria’s blog post is incorrect, because Selby and Witherspoon might very well have indicated to somebody that they’re leaning in that direction. Published quotes from Witherspoon seem to suggest that Indiana is the darkhorse in a race that includes Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky, Syracuse and Connecticut.

But the point is, they’re not making an official trim-down just yet.

[2:49 p.m. UPDATE]

Witherspoon responded with a text that said “Everyone who is still on the list has a chance.” When asked if that list was still the same, including Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Connecticut and Syracuse, she responded, “Yes.”

So the Hoosiers aren’t out yet. At least not officially.

Saffold moves up draft charts

Indiana left tackle Rodger Saffold played in the East-West Shrine Game last weekend, one of the little brothers to this week’s Senior Bowl.

Generally for second-line players, the Shrine Game is, nonetheless, visited by many a NFL scout. It appears that Saffold played very well all week.

This, from Sporting News’ Russ Lande:

Rodger Saffold, OT, Indiana. Saffold arrived in Orlando with questions about his quickness, athleticism, intensity and strength. From Day 1, he shined on the field. He showed the quickness and athleticism to slide to the corner and cut off edge rushers, keeping his knees bent and blocking with good leverage. Saffold proved he has what it takes to play left tackle in the NFL. He certainly moved into third-round consideration, and he could go as high as the second round with a string of good pre-draft workouts.

This, from NFL scouts polled by

Rodger Saffold, T, Indiana–“he pulled up his draft grade at least 2 rounds with us” and “surprised me with his strong footwork”.

And the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows:

T Rodger Saffold, Indiana. I watched him whenever he was on the field because of the high marks he received in practices and because the 49ers need a tackle. He definitely has quick feet. He was able to slide well and reach the second level quickly on running plays. However, he seemed to get off balance too much in pass protection, which allowed his opponent to pull him forward and then get past Saffold on the edge. Saffold also was called for a false start.

Hoosier Morning

Indiana Iowa basketball

Indiana guard Verdell Jones III and Indiana forward Tom Pritchard try to block the shot of Iowa forward Jarryd Cole during the first half Sunday. Chris Howell | Herald-Times


Crean: Roth’s status still uncertain

Sophomore guard Matt Roth is apparently making progress with his foot injury. He wasn’t wearing a boot at Saturday’s game against Iowa, and he was shooting around with the team before hand. However, with February and the half-way point of the Big Ten season fast approaching, IU coach Tom Crean said he’s still uncertain when and if Matt Roth can return this season.

“We’re getting closer to decision time,” Crean said on his radio show Monday night. “He’s ahead of schedule, what that totally means, we’re getting closer to finding out.”

Crean said shortly after Roth suffered his injury at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament that if Roth were still out in February, he would apply for medical hardship instead of returning to burn a year of eligibility on half of a Big Ten season. Crean did not say if he is still looking at that as a drop-dead deadline.

“We’d really like him back,” Crean said. “And the thing about Matt is not only can he shoot it, but Matt moves the basketball. When that ball stops, and that thought gets out ‘lets see if I have a play before I make the next pass.’ That’s the stuff we’ve gotta go through, and it drives me nuts.”

Crean also said that Maurice Creek is making progress, but he said his hopes that Creek could return by season’s end were shot down quickly.

“I said, ‘Does that mean he’ll be back by March?” Crean said. “I got a quick shake of the head ‘No’ from Dr. Ahlfeld. He didn’t look me in the eye, which means he knew what I was asking.”

Crean got several questions about guards and guard play during the radio show, and he used that as a response to the several e-mails he’s getting about not recruiting enough big men.

“I get so many questions and e-mails,” Crean said. “Big guy, big guy, big guy, big guy. But it seems like all the questions that we get, not all the questions, some of the questions, they’re about guard play. That’s why you can never stop recruiting guards. … You’ve got to continue to look at all areas to improve your team.”

Buckley fills in for Crean on Big Ten call

Indiana coach Tom Crean apparently had a meeting that tied him up Monday morning, so assistant coach Tim Buckley filled in on the Big Ten call. As you’d expect from an assistant coach, he was polite and reasoned in his responses, but non-committal enough to keep his boss from having anything more to answer for.

Buckley addressed the rebounding margin in Sunday’s loss to Iowa and stressed that the Hoosiers had success in that area earlier.

“Showing that the consistency of it showing up in games is very important to us being successful,” Buckley said. “Obviously, winning the rebound battle against a team like Minnesota, you have those successes to build off of, and then showing the guys. I think once they see it on film, they’ll notice that we weren’t as physical as we needed to be. There’s a difference between just getting a body on somebody and getting a body on somebody, carving out space and keeping your feet moving, particularly against stronger and bigger guys. that’s an area that we’ll continue to address. And I think the other thing too is when your big guys are blocking out, then the guards gotta go in there and get the rebounds. We just didn’t get enough of that yesterday. That will continue to be a point of emphasis for us as a program.” (more…)

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