Oh, about that Final Four

I did not partake in any of the Final Four festivities this afternoon, as I was off in search of other stories. Lucas Oil is swarming with journalists (that scene ain’t pretty, by the way) and there’s been a ton of good coverage out there. I will link to some of it, and perhaps comment about it.

First, you’ve gotta follow the young writers working for what’s been dubbed the Student New Bureau. They’re college students from IUPUI and Indiana under the guidance of Tim Franklin, who runs the sports journalism program, and Ron Johnson, who directs the IDS. Simply terrific work being done by the kids who are the future of our business.

Second, you might be wondering about the proposal to push the tournament to 96 teams. There’s been much consternation about this, and John Feinstein — he wrote a book about Indiana that you might want to check out — had a little public kerfuffle with an NCAA honcho (recounted well here by Deadspin) on Thursday. Anyway, Feinstein’s column came out Friday and is worth a read. He explains the proposal well, even will attempting to tear it to shreds. The New York Times, always so enlightening, took a interesting look at the situation.

*My thoughts? I’m not as against the expansion as most people seem to be. It certainly reinforces the fact that big-time college basketball is, first and foremost, a business.  But you had to be really squinting to see anything otherwise. None of the teams added to the tournament will ever win a tournament, which is fine. It’s already an impure format; you’re not getting the 64 best teams. But having the interlopers — the teams from smaller conferences — creates the buzz that surrounds the tournament early. Adding to that is sort of like putting more cheese on a burger. It’s not changing the meal all that drastically, but it’s not terrible, either.

Finally, the Indianapolis Star put an illustration of a scribbled-upon Coach K on some of its sports covers Friday. An crap-storm ensued because Mighty K took offense. The Star has since apologized.

*This one seems overblown to me. We compete with the Star, and I go to bed every night hoping we whooped them on IU news and wake up worried we got beat. But I can’t criticize this. They tried something creative, and it was clearly a joke. Newspapers should be able to have a little fun. This attempt may not have been all that well-executed, but for people to question the paper’s ethics or morals or [insert loaded term here] is ridiculous.

More to come.

Michigan at Indiana, Game 1, Live at Sembower

UPDATE, Middle of the Tenth Inning

Michigan not only took the lead in the 10th but probably put the game away. First baseman Mike Dufek had a two-run single, then designated hitter Garret Stephens hit a rand slam to give Michigan a 16-10 lead. (more…)

Hoosier Morning


A group of defenders, led by Tyler Replogle, tackle Purdue’s Aaron Valentin. Rich Janzaruk | Herald-Times


Someone must have been praying for me

Matt Howard, a 6-foot-8 junior forward for the Butler Bulldogs, will create his own Final Four memories this weekend.

They’ll fight to crowd out the basketball memory that defined his childhood in Connersville: Indiana’s run to the 2002 national title game.

“Following Dane Fife and all those guys,” he said, “that’s my first tournament memory.”

When Howard, one of 10 children, grew into one of the most coveted players in the state, new Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson came calling. This was the summer of 2006, just a few months after Sampson arrived. Howard knew the program would be in transition.

He still didn’t like the experience in Bloomington.

“I did a little bit, but, man, somebody either must have been praying for me or something,” Howard said Thursday after Butler practiced at Lucas Oil Stadium in preparation for its national semifinal game against Michigan State Saturday. “In my mind it didn’t feel right when it was Sampson there. I’m really glad that was the case. Once I went there and visited and got that feeling, it never really was an option afterward.”

Later, Howard reflected how “interesting” it was that things have worked out the way they did for the school he dreamed of playing for and the one he ended up playing for. In his hometown, he said, people wouldn’t think of spending a game night doing anything other than listening to Don Fischer and Todd Leary on the radio.

“That was pretty much it,” he said.

His run with the Bulldogs, though, has earned Butler a few fans, he said.

“They sent 800 people up here on buses for a game once,” he said. “That’s pretty substantial for a town of 15,000, maybe smaller.”

Crazy rumor or April Fools? You decide


That photo is not a joke. The rest of this very may well be. But I am thinking the use of April Fools for one part of the story (easily the most insane part) may mean the rest has some morsel of truth., a site I have never heard of, is reporting Tom Izzo will leave Michigan State for the New Jersey Nets. That’s not surprising. Been reported before. Will be reported again. May even be true. Izzo does not have much left to accomplish in the college game — he’s too old to take down Bob Knight’s wins record and he’s made Final Four the Tom Izzo invitational.

But here is where the whole thing gets fun:

The next obvious question for Spartan fans and Big Ten fans is who would take over at Michigan State in the event that Izzo leaves. When I posed this question to my source, he answered almost before I get the question out: Tom Crean. In fact, the ability to hand the job over to Crean would be a motivating factor in Izzo leaving.

Oh yeah, he went there. He also provided that great photo above. We’ll be saving that one. I am sure Chronic will as well.

So who replaces Crean at Indiana? Brad Stevens? Nope — the grumpiest man to ever wear a red sweater.

The university is reportedly ready to offer Knight a blank chank, rename Assembly Hall after him, replace the statue in Showalter fountain with one of Kent Benson boxing out, and give him final say over everything basketball-related, as well as a 50-tolerance policy in place of his previously mandated zero-tolerance policy — meaning he can engage in 50 blowups, assaults, profanity-laced lambastes, etc., before the university will consider action…like how things were in the 80s.

That’s the April Fools part, the writer claims.

So is the rest true? Or just an elaborate April Fools joke designed to send traffic rushing towards a rather obscure site?

Hoosier Morning


Indiana women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack walks her team to center court after a win against Penn State. Monty Howell | Herald-Times


Thursday chat, Final Four coverage

We’ll be hosting our regular Thursday discussion at the usual time (11 a.m.) today. Hope you join us.

I may be a bit late in providing answers because I will jump in Matt Dollinger’s freshly purchased mobile and ride with one of the H-T’s top 100 interns, all time (without a doubt), to the Final Four.

Dollinger and some of the other Indiana students you’ve come to know well — think DeAntae Prince, Zina Kumok, Greg Rosenstein, Sean Morrison, Stephanie Kuzydym, Nathan Hart, James Brosher (a current, and dominant, H-T photo intern) — will be working for a Student News Bureau being run by IU’s fledgling, but so-far-excellent sports journalism program. Find them here, and read often.

I’ll be providing coverage for, well, us. Should be interesting. Be sure to check in with me tomorrow, either here or on Twitter.

Scoop Poll:

How many games will IU football win?

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IU vs Ohio State football

  • Double Down:

    Pretty cool. Dig the more red vs pure crimson. Nod to the old Knight [...]

  • Ron:

    I'm missing something. Clarion's post supports the hiring of Elston. [...]

  • Jeremy Price:

    Filthy, I don't know how much IU can or will say whenever it makes an [...]

  • TsaoTsuG:

    Pfunk, your story in regards to Elston says a lot about what our hopes [...]

  • BeatPurdue:

    #24 I disagree! Both Sudfield and Howard are established, proven, grea [...]

  • TsaoTsuG:

    I agree with Clarion's and NoMenacity's take on Elston. Podunker, not [...]

  • t:

    I mean ZD. [...]

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