Archive for January 31, 2012

The Flying V

The Pacers-Bulls Rivalry Is Going To Be The Talk Of The NBA Sooner Rather Than Later

Last week the young Pacers went into the Windy City and slapped the Bulls in the face and celebrated accordingly. The only problem with it was that Derrick Rose’ feelings got hurt. Rose said after the game, “I’ll never forget how they celebrated just from winning this game,” Rose told reporters, “I can’t wait to play them again”.

The Pacers exercised some demons from last season’s tough first round playoff series and got a huge early season road win none the less. Todays young Pacers Head Coach may have seen a smoldering fire about his Pacers and Bulls renewed rivalry and dumped some gasoline right on top of it. Vogel said today in an  interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on SVP’s radio show ” I don’t know if we really celebrated any more than a lot of teams celebrated when they get a road win, I know they’ve got a couple guys on their team who celebrate on every play. I just think it’s the thrill of victory, If they want to add some spice to the rivalry we welcome that. Rivalries are fun. Winning is fun. It’s all good”. You know what…he is absolutely right about everything! I hate when pro coaches and players tip toe around situations and give us the political answer, the same answer President Obama would give if asked how much he hates South Korea. Well Frank Vogel stepped to the mic today with Scott Van Pelt and delivered a hook to D-Rose and the city of Chicago’s jaw. Winning is all that is going to make both teams feel good and it’s a sight for sore eyes, especially in Naptown! The fans aren’t beating down the doors to the Fieldhouse but I think the slow matriculation is begging and you can bet when D-Rose and his group of overpaid rah rah Bulls show up on April 25th for the regular season finale the stands will be packed especially if these teams continue on the same track. That game could play a huge role in playoff position and maybe home court advantage! I’ll leave you with this thought; if you had to play a game for your life would you pick Jokim Noah, Kyle Korver, Brian Scalabrine, John Lucas, and Carlos Boozer? Or would you pick Paul George, George Hill, David West, Tyler Hansbourgh, and Roy Hibbert? I know neither set of guys scares you but you can bet instead of celebrating a dunk, Hansbourgh would just run back down the court and take a charge where Noah is going to find the camera and tell you how big a jerk Kevin Garnett is or how badly he got hosed! I’m not telling you the Pacers are going to win the title this year, but I’m saying early on they got under the Bulls skin! That is all you need to kick start a rivalry and I may just buy my tix for that home finale now if I was you! The Bulls are a lot of style and little substance; where as the Pacers are a lot of substance with very little style! If you ask Larry Bird why his Celtics teams won back in the day he’d tell you substance over style. If I’m right about these two teams our substance will squash D-Rose’s style and the rest of the baby Bulls BS!

Follow me on Twitter @C_K_42

Now a couple videos of some of the Bulls-Pacers classic moments!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly1ZpG27bNc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr9ldg2jL3Q

The Flying V

 It’s That Time Once Again…..MOCK DRAFT 4.0

I’ve made some adjustments to this mock draft because of the research I’ve done and the rumblings I’ve heard. So without hesitation, heeeeerrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeee wwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ggggggggggoooooooooo!

1) Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck without a doubt in my mind he’s going to be the guy who walks to the podium with that #1 jersey on April 26th.

2) St. Louis Rams: As in my last mock draft Justin Blackmon is the guy Jeff Fisher and Co. will be claiming with their first round pick.

3) I believe Minnesota will trade this pick and that is because General Manager Rick Spielman said he was fielding calls for that pick. That being said, Minnesota will deal this pick to Washington and move back to 6th. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III. The Heisman Trophy winner will be and is the hottest player on most draft boards. He will continue to rise, and come draft day he will taken by the Skins to turn that sinking ship around.

4) Cleveland Browns: A play maker is absolutely needed for Colt McCoy to continue his progression. There has been talk that the Browns will take RGIII but I believe McCoy is the guy for them, at least for one more year. If the Browns are awful again this year, Matt Barkley will be there to take next season. That being said, Alshon Jefferey from South Carolina is going to be an iffy pick but I think he’s going to have a BEASTMODE Combine in Indianapolis and put himself back atop many draft boards.

5) Tampa Bay Bucs: With Ronde Barber being 300 years old in NFL age they need a shut down corner and Morris Claiborne from LSU is the “baddest man” at that position, this is a NO DOUBTER!

6) In the trade with Washington the Vikings will get this pick as well as the second rounder this year and Washington’s first round pick next season. So a great move by Minnesota to get help this year as well as next. Minnesota Vikings: They will go a few directions; CB,O-line,D-line. I think Minnesota goes with LT Matt Kalil from USC because Charlie Johnson just isn’t the best guy at LT. Kalil adds a stud to an O-line that is in need of a blind side protector and hole opener for AP. They will get both of those in Matt Kalil.

7) Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags need a stud WR but with Blackmon (2nd) and Jefferey (4th) off the board do they go get Michael Floyd from ND? Otherwise, I think the Jags go with OT or CB. I will say the Jags take Dre Kirkpatrick CB from Alabama. The jags can address WR in round 2 because you can’t get guys like Kirkpatrick in round 2.

8) Carolina Panthers: A play making WR would be great but I don’t think Carolina goes for Floyd here and an elite offensive lineman makes more sense.  I foresee the Panthers taking David DeCastro from Stanford with this pick. A quote from Mike Mayock of the NFL Network, “As Can’t Miss as Andrew Luck is at QB”! That’s good enough for me.

9) Miami Dolphins: Offensive line help and a pass rusher is needed and I think Miami goes elite pass rusher here with Melvin Ingram DE from South Carolina.

10) Buffalo Bills: They will go with the third Stanford player in round 1. LT Jonathan Martin will be an instant upgrade in Buffalo and help “The Amish Rifle”.. I mean Ryan Fitzpatrick. As well as pave the way for Fred Jackson to run the rock.

11) Kansas City Chiefs: An offensive lineman would be a great addition to the front 5 for the Chiefs. I think with Romeo Crennel as the HC and a defensive guy the Chiefs will go with Dont’a Hightower LB from Bama. If you add Hightower and put him with Derrick Johnson, that will be one of the best if not the best LB units in football.

12) Seattle Seahawks: DT Michael Brockers from LSU is a stud and don’t be surprised that in our next mock draft you see Brockers in the top 10 or maybe top 5. The Hawks need a pass rusher and Brockers is that guy!

13) Arizona Cardinals: In order to be able to protect whichever QB they decide to go with and run the ball the Cards will go with the best o-lineman available and snag Iowa’s Riley Reiff. He is a great lineman and is raved about by everyone in the Big Ten and will soon be rising up draft boards after he does his thing in Indy at the Combine.

14) Dallas Cowboys: In desperate need of an “EXTREME SECONDARY MAKEOVER” I think Jerry and the ‘Boys may reach a little and take North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins is a stud and can make all the plays but his off the field issues could cause him to drop but I think Jerry takes a waiver on them and takes him right here.

15) Philadelphia Eagles: The “Dream Team” never got it together this season and I think Philly will let DeSean Jackson walk or at least I would. Addition by subtraction would be a great thing for the Eagles. I also believe the LB unit was awful and feel that North Carolina’s Zach Brown is as elite as they come at outside backer and would start from day one in Philly.  A great Senior Bowl week is what made me slot him here, if he follows that up with a great week in Indy at the combine Philly could have defensive rookie of the year in their sights.

16) New York Jets: The Jets are in need of an attitude adjustment and as I said about the Eagles, addition with subtraction would be huge if the Jets get rid of Santonio Holmes. He is a cancer and major off field risk. That being said, I think the Jets go with a pass rusher or RB with this pick. I can foresee Washington’s Chris Polk or the U’s Lamar Miller at RB. Or if they go pass rusher then USC’s Nick Perry is the pick….I think edge rusher and Perry from USC is the guy.

17) Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals need some secondary help but I don’t think they address that until day two. Instead, the Bengals get a gift from the draft day Gods and snag beast running back Trent Richardson from Bama. He is the best back in the draft and thus who cares that Cedric Benson is already in the Queen City? This would be a huge draft day steal if T-Rich falls to the Nati at 17.

18) San Diego Chargers: The offensive line is in desperate need of an upgrade and with Ohio State’s Mike Adams the Chargers get just that. He’s a great addition and will allow them to maybe keep Phillip Rivers upright.

19) Chicago Bears: The Bears need a play maker and the best on the board is Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd and if Floyd is here Chicago will run the pick to the commish. Floyd would bring a beast into the Windy City and give Cutler someone to throw to at every open chance. The addition of Floyd would make all the other WR’s that much better because Floyd is a #1 WR where as the guys in Chi-town now are all 2′s and 3′s.

20) Tennessee Titans: LB Courntey Upshaw will be the Titans pick, and if he is the AFC South will need to take immediate notice. He is a tackling machine and that is something Tennessee needs!

21) Cincinnati Bengals: With their second pick in the first round the Bengals can address the secondary and take Nebraska’s Alfonzo Dennard. He had a shaky Senior Bowl but all signs point to him being a very good CB at the NFL level and something needed in Cincy.

22) Cleveland Browns: With their second first rounder they will address the defense having already nabbed Jefferey with their earlier pick. LB Luke Kuechly from Boston College slipped a little in this mock draft and if he does on April 26th the Browns will sprint to the podium to turn in the card.

23) Detroit Lions: They made the playoffs this season but still need to get better O-line play so that Stafford doesn’t have to throw 45 times a night. They also need better secondary play at corner or safety. I think Detroit goes best available at o-line or secondary and comes back with Stephon Gilmore CB from South Carolina.

24) Pittsburgh Steelers: With Owner Art Rooney coming out and saying they are going to go back to smash mouth Steeler football, I think to do so the offensive line needs to be much much better. In saying that, Georgia’s Cordy Glenn is a mauler and something missing in recent Steeler front 5′s. Big Ben might not get to sling it around as much but he also might be able to walk normally during the Playoffs, unlike this year.

25) Denver Broncos: The Denver defense is needing someone in the middle of that line who can take on blocks and make plays in the backfield. Enter Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy.

26) Houston Texans: They made the playoffs and won the division for the first time ever this season. Now they need to build on that and get a play making WR to go with Andre Johnson or an interior D-lineman to dominate the running game. I think Houston goes Memphis DT Dontari Poe, he’s a mountain of a man and a picture perfect 3-4 nose man!

27) New England Patriots: Still in need of someone who can rush the passer and I personally hope the Giants expose that all day on Sunday in Indy. But, that being said, I think Bob Craft and the Hoody go with Clemson DE Andre Branch. They’ve ignored the DE or outside backer spot the last few drafts. I don’t think they will do the same this year.

28) Green Bay Packers: The Packer D let them down this year and as in years past with explosive offenses and lack luster D’s. The D is exposed in the playoffs and the O gets no second chances. So with that being said, the Pack go D with Illinois OLB Whitney Mercilus. Down the stretch Clay Matthews saw double and triple teams and with Mercilus’ addition that won’t be the case next year. If they have to account for both outside guys sacks galore for Matthews and Mercilus!

29) Baltimore Ravens: Vontaze Burfict more like Vontaze PERFECT FIT for Baltimore! Sorry I had to try.  He’s an absolute terror and would fit perfectly in with the Ravens. Ray Lewis may not be the same he was but he is a great leader and along with Ed Reed and T-Sizzle Burfict will get the ropes shown to him by some of the best to ever play! Advantage RAVENS!

30) San Fransisco 49ers: I know we all watched the NFC title game and saw that Alex Smith couldn’t complete a pass to a WR. But did we stop and think that his WR’s are absolute garbage?? Michael Crabtree (175 catches, 2000+ yards, 12 TD’s in 3 seasons), Ted Ginn(yuccckkkkk), Kyle Williams (fumbles), and some no name dudes you’ve never heard of! Eli Manning at least has dudes who can catch, Rodgers has studs everywhere, Matt Ryan Julio Jones and Roddy White. Poor Alex Smith has “play makers” who couldn’t catch a cold or small pox even if General Custer’s men had given them a blanket with the epidemic on it! Sorry for the History reference but my point is Alex Smith needs at least one WR who can make him a play and Rutgers Mohamed Sanu is just that man!

31) New York Giants: The Giants will need to add a play making TE to stretch the middle of the field and there isn’t a better answer to that then Georgia’s Orson Charles. This kid is in the mold of Gronk and Aaron Hernandez of the Pats. The up and coming WR’s for the G-men will only get better with a TE who can dominate the middle of the field.

32) New England Patriots: Again in need of edge rushers, the Pats will take a waiver on a guy who could be a bust! This guy is North Carolina’s Quinton Coples. He has the tools to play inside at DT and outside at DE, alot like the Giants do with Justin Tuck. But, the questions remain with Coples can he stay motivated and does his motor ever work? Not exactly questions you want the NFL executives who will draft you asking. But, his physical tools will make the Pats take a flyer on him!

As is customary I will add a “great music video” to send you off with but since we missed JT’s Bday I’m adding a bonus Video which goes with our first video! ….Enjoy! Remember to follow me on Twitter @C_K_42

 

The Flying V

Irish Continue to Make Like Lazarus and Come Back From the Dead

The Notre Dame men’s basketball team was all but dead after dominating losses to Mizzou, Gonzaga, Alabama, and Maryland.  Then the day after Thanksgiving leading scorer and 5th year senior Tim Abromaitis tears his ACL and is out for the year.  Back to the drawing board for Brey and Co.  The Irish could’ve just packed it in and said well next year we’ll be back.  But that’s just not the way Mike Brey attacks life or basketball!

So ND implemented the “burn” offense and made a vow to play harder and more together on defense.  All that has transpired since then is amazing and stupid crazy!  The Irish after a crazy week of an upset over then #1 ranked Syracuse, a road win over Seton Hall, and cap it off with a road stunner over #19 UConn.  The Fighting Irish have moved into a 3rd place tie with Georgetown in the Big East standings.

Who would’ve thought that a team in such panic (or so it seemed) after Abro’s injury could now be the team everyone is fearing to play!  Not this man that is for sure I was on record as saying ND is done and better luck next year!  Well good thing the players didn’t listen to me.  Since the loss to Maryland, the Irish have gone 9-4 including the huge upsets over UConn and the ‘Cuse.  Brey and the boys have 9 games left and frankly every one is winnable.  The Irish play Marquette at home next Saturday then go to West Virginia, followed by Depaul and Rutgers at home.  Then a road date with Villanova, before a home date with WVU.  The last three regular season games are tough; two road games at St. Johns and Georgetown then wrapping it up at home against Providence.  I think ND will go 7-2 down the stretch and put themselves in the conversation to maybe win the Big East.  I know it sounds far fetched but if I’ve learned nothing else about this group is expect the unexpected!  If you’re a coach in the Big East you are sitting at home thinking man I have to play ND and all they do is play good D, make open 3′s, turn you over, and play like the 1999 Wisconsin Badgers!  I think it is Maalox mashing time for the rest of the Big East’s coaches.  Just the way Mike Brey is used to, being a pain to play and beat.  This March is going to be really fun for Brey and Co…..mark my words!!!

Like what you see follow me on Twitter @C_K_42

Here’s the Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Video Intro: Enjoy

Rise and Fire

Ball State Comeback Falls Short

The Ball State Cardinals came back from fourteen points down to take a one point lead with just over three minutes left, but didn’t have enough as Ohio beat them 58-55 in Athens, OH.  BSU never really found their rythm offensively and were never able to establish Jarrod Jones down low.  The loss drops the Cards to 12-7 overall but more importantly 4-3 in the MAC. 

As has become customary, the Cardinals and Bobcats played another tight one.  Three of the last five games they have played have gone to overtime and today’s contest went right down to the final possession.  The biggest issue the Cards faced today were themselves as they turned the ball over 18 times.  This caused empty possessions and made it difficult to get Jones involved in the offense.

BSU trailed big early in the second half but methodically clawed their way back.  Due in large part to the play of their bench and role players- namely forward Chris Bond who put up 14 points and 12 rebounds.  Randy Davis also played well at the point and hit four big three-pointers, which has not been his strong suit so far this season coming in at 29%.

Ohio got some big plays down the stretch from point guard D.J. Cooper and Walter Offutt- the Indianapolis native and former Warren Central standout.  Cooper, Ohio’s leading scorer, had just 6 points but his penetration on consecutive plays in the last 90 seconds led to a basket and some free throws for Offutt.  Offutt put in a hoop and a foul to regain the lead after BSU’s Tyler Koch drilled a 3 to take the lead.  He later made a free throw to extend the lead to three as the Cards couldn’t connect on a field goal in the final few minutes.

This is a big game in the MAC standings as the conference has revamped their conference tournament process.  Now the top two teams get automatic byes to the semifinals while the #3 and #4 seeds get byes to the quaterfinals.  This plays a big part as the MAC is a one bid NCAA tournament league so to get those rewards for playing well in the conference regular season makes it less games you would need to win to find your way to the title.

The Cards loss today drops them to a half game out of first in their division and 2 games behind conference leader Akron in the loss column.  They still have plenty of games left to get back in the mix for those byes and that will start with the longest conference road trip of the season at Buffalo (11-6, 4-2) next week.  BSU will need to make a concerted effort to run the offense through Jones- not only to get him going down low but to open up some outside shots for Davis, Koch, and Jesse Berry.

Follow Thad on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Shipyard

Trees Pick Up 3rd MVC Victory

Indiana State picked up a much needed win on Wednesday night, taking down Northern Iowa 59-54 in Hulman Center. The Trees were led by Sr. Carl Richard who finally bounced back after a series of poor outings, tallying 17 points in 30 minutes of action. Jake Odum stuffed the stat sheet with 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Myles Waker, Steve McWhorter, and Lucas Eitel combined for 20 points and 14 rebounds to catapult the Trees to a win.

Northern Iowa continued to have issues playing away from Cedar Falls. They uncharacteristically shot a frigid 6-21 from beyond the arc, while letting ISU outrebound them 33-28. I will give credit to Panther forward Seth Tuttle, he put up 22 points on an efficient 7-9 from the field along with going 8-9 from the charity stripe. The Trees had no answer for Tuttle all night as he kept them in the game almost single handedly at times.

My take on the game:

Good to see the Trees bounce back and snag a victory. Carl Richard looked like the Carl Richard of old and Jake Odum played a great overall game, but still needs to cut back on his turnovers. Lucas Eitel has been fantastic off the bench lately, chipping in 5 points and 6 rebounds in this outing.

The next 2 games are critical for ISU. Yes, the Trees are 3-7 in MVC play but they are definitely not buried in the cellar by any means. If they can beat Evansville and Drake in their next 2 games then they’ll climb back up into the middle of the conference standings. The MVC is a bit of a mess at this point in the season. Wichita St and Creighton are clearly the best two teams in the conference, after that it’s a log-jam of mystery. ISU needs to focus on getting out of the bottom four of the conference and avoiding the dreadful Thursday night play-in round of Arch Madness.

Player of the Game: Carl Richard (17 pts, 3 rbs, 2 asts)

Next UP: @ Evansville 1/29/12 8:00 tip

Rise and Fire

Put together a video blog to discuss the midway point in conference action for most college teams across the state.  I look back at the first part of conference play and look ahead to upcoming games.  Plus what each team needs to do to work their way up the conference standings.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Flying V

What I Think About What I think……College Hoops

Indiana lost at Wisconsin…AGAIN.  I know everyone on Twitter and Facebook were calling for every touch call last night in the closing minutes.  But I saw a typical Big Ten game where the refs swallowed the whistles late.  My 8th grade game last night had more fouls called in than this Big Ten battle.  But I think whats really been missing for IU is Christian Watford.  He is a one man roller coaster ride.  He has the skill set to be a Big Ten MVP but gets lost far to easy and that is why IU has come back to the middle of the pack.  Yes VJIII has been struggling and turns it over far to much but he played really well last night and only had 2 TO’s.  Watford who was a 1 man show against Kentucky, especially down the stretch has gone from hero in that game to almost zero here lately. To quote rap superstar Eminem, “would the real Christian Watford please stand up?!” Ok so Eminem didn’t exactly say that but that’s what IU fans and Tom Crean are wondering.  If IU wants to be in the discussion as a dark horse Final 4 team they need Watford to be the best player.  Hulls is nice, Olly, VJIII and Will are nice pieces.  Zeller is a beast who gets less calls then an ugly band geek in high school around Prom time, but Watford is depended on to lead on offense and not suck on defense.  Well sometimes he sucks on offense and if your major skill is in question then what exactly do you have?  Crean has got to get Christian Watford back to dominating on O and the Hoosiers will be fine, if Christian continues to hide in big moments the Hoosiers will be home by the 2nd day of the NCAA tourney!

Hoops Picks: Season picks to this point 7-5. Not great but above .500 and getting better every week.

Ball State @ Ohio: The Cards are tied for 1st in the MAC western division and Ohio is a game back in the East.  This game is going to be shown on ESPNU so please do yourselves a favor and at least DVR it.  This has all the makings of a great game; the #1 scoring offense (Ohio) vs the #1 scoring defense (Ball State).  In baseball great pitching beats great hitting, in soccer a great goalie keeps a great offense off the scoreboard, and in basketball great defense holds great offense down.  I think that will be shown tomorrow on ESPNU as Ball State and Jarrod Jones will go into Convocation Center or “Convo” as the students call it, and leave with a W.

Ball State 64-Ohio 59; pick to click Jarrod Jones will get a 19 point and 13 board performance to lead the Cards to a big time road win.

Valparaiso @ UW Milwaukee: This is a match up of 2nd place squads as each sits a half game back of first place Cleveland State.  Valpo is coming off a 15 point loss to Cleveland State while UWM comes off an 11 point W over Butler.  This game is the biggest in first year coach Bryce Drew’s career and I think he gets the troops ready and they go into Milwaukee and leave US Cellular Arena with a hard fought victory.

Valpo 73-UW Milwaukee 69-OT; pick to click is Ryan Broekhoff who is second in scoring for the Crusaders and first in boards will come up with a monster game. I’m calling a 23 point and 14 board performance and will leave all his Aussie fans in attendence to be chanting “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie….Oi, Oi, Oi!”

Purdue @ Northwestern: The Boilers need a feel good win and if they’re going to get it anytime soon it will be at Northwestern Saturday.  The Boilers are coming off back to back losses; a beat down in East Lansing and a nail biter at Mackey on Tuesday.  The Wildcats are struggling to do anything offensively and defensively so they better hope the Boilers who couldn’t throw one in Lake Michigan show up, if not Purdue will leave Welsh-Ryan Arena with a easy road win.

Purdue 73- Northwestern 61; pick to click Ryne Smith will lead a 3 point barage at Welsh-Ryan as he will hit 6 and the Boilers will make 13 as a team.

Butler @ UW Green Bay: The Dawgs are 12-10 and struggling with a up and down season.  They still lack a true scoring threat and at times look completely lost on defense.  The UWGB Phoenix are 4-6 in conference play as the Dawgs are 6-4.  The Phoenix lost at Butler on Dec. 29th and it was a hard fought 53-49 slugfest.  If the Dawgs want a road win and a fun bus trip back to Naptown they had better score and play defense.  If one of those aspects are missing then the Dawgs will be 2.5 games out of first in the Horizon League.

UWGB 57-Butler 50; the Dawgs need this win but I just think that UWGB is going to get a tough win behind sophmore Alec Brown’s 19 point, 12 boards, and 6 block performance against the Dawgs.

Notre Dame @ UCONN: The Irish are coming off a stunner last weekend over Syracuse (then #1 in the land) and a grinder over Seton Hall on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.  ND watched a few weeks back as UCONN ran away and hid at the Joyce and ND hopes to pay back the Huskies on Sunday.  The Irish are finally starting to hit outside shots and the D continues to clamp down.  If this continues Brey and the Irish have a real shot to upset up and down UCONN.

ND 70-UCONN 68; plick to click will be Eric Atkins who needs to stay out of foul trouble and score against UCONN. I think he does both and leads the Irish with 18 points and 8 assists to exact some revenge on the Huskies.

Iowa @ Indiana: The Hoosiers are licking there wounds after the loss @ Wisconsin last night but have a lot to still be happy about.  But if they come into this game Sunday night and feel they will walk through Iowa they might get stunned at Assembly Hall.  IU has already had a game like this at home when they lost to Minnesota and followed that up with a loss at bottom dweller Nebraska.  If IU wants to be looked at as a Big Ten player down the stretch and in the Dance they can’t lose this game. This is the game of the year for IU; at least that is what I’d be selling the team if I was Crean.  Because even though you aren’t supposed to look ahead at the next teams up, but lingering on the Hoosier horizon are games at Michigan and Purdue. Those are 2 more L’s for IU if they don’t right the ship.

IU 80-Iowa 68; pick to click is the home court advantage the students will give the Hoosiers. It will be a close game as Iowa has played everyone tough and IU will get a great performance from Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls on Sunday night in B-Town.

Indiana State @ Evansville: The Trees like everyone else seems to be in need of a win and if ISU wants to get right back in the Mo Valley race they need this win at the Ford Center.  Colt Ryan won’t be up for letting Odum and Co. come down US 41 and steal a game from him.  It’s going to be Missouri Valley hoops at its finest.

ISU 69-Evansville 66; pick to click will be Jordan Printy who will be called upon in a side out of bounds play to drill a tre ball to send the Sycamores home with a 3 point stunner!

Now as is customary in this blog; a national out of area game.

St. Mary’s @ BYU: I know Jimmer isn’t in Provo anymore but the Cougars still have some ballers and I think the Gaels come into Provo and lose a heart wrenching classic.

BYU 82- St. Mary’s 81; pick to click is one time IU recruit Matt Carlino who has finally found a home and is playing great.  He is averaging 12 points and 4.5 assists per game.  I think he’ll be up for this challenge and have a huge 2nd half to lead BYU to an upset victory.  His stat line 17 points, 3 steals, and 9 assists.

Also as is customary I will leave you guys with a video; in honor of me going to see one of my favorite musical artists this Saturday I leave you with this from Eric Church! Enjoy

Follow me on Twitter:  @C_K_42.

The Crimson Corner

Manning vs. The State

Peyton Manning has to feel like he is on trial. His trial date, March 8th. The judge presiding over the case will be Mr. Jim Irsay. At this time, Peyton Manning is being held without bail in the Colts Practice Facility on W. 56th. Everyday he works out to stay in shape in case any young up and comers try to take his spot. He has a few allies left but most of them might get out early. The others have already been sent to San Quentin. The prosecution just hired a new up and comer by the name of Chuck Pagano.

The court of public opinion has already turned towards Manning leaving the Colts. It’s hard to imagine Peyton Manning running anything besides the Colts when you consider that Google was founded the same month of his first NFL Start. The latest hiring of Coach Pagano seems to signify a continuing massive change in philosophy that Jim Irsay promised fans. Before everyone accepts saying goodbye to Manning maybe we should look deeper into what has happened so far, specifically what Jim Irsay has said.

Jim Irsay said he wanted to rebuild and so far he’s put a block of C4 on almost every level of the coaching staff besides the offensive staff. It remains to be seen what happens with the personnel on this team because what happens to Manning is the first step of that process. Irsay has already stated that he had no issue with paying Manning 25+ million to play zero minutes this year so money isn’t an issue. So far Irsay has been a man of his word. His word also stated that Peyton Manning would never play in any jersey besides a Colts jersey. Sometimes when you rebuild its important to leave part of the foundation. Consider why none of the offensive coaching staff has been relieved.

The way one should look at this scenario is that unless Manning proves that he can’t play by March 8th, then Irsay will be going by his gut and whatever information a slew of doctors can give him. Hiring a first time GM and a first time Head Coach are pretty gutsy moves. What better way to build a defense than having a coach that can turn most of his focus on the defense while Manning continues to run your offense? Granted, some principals of the offense would likely change, such as an increased focus on the run. Meanwhile, the language, audibles and schemes can all stay in place. In addition, drafting Andrew Luck means that he is the face of your franchise for years to come and most believed an offensive mind would be brought in to groom him as a QB. Did that not happen because you’ve got Peyton Manning who is the ultimate team player? He’s not exactly going to open up a tutoring session with Luck but if they both know what their roles for the future are isn’t it possible?

Not everything has fallen into place, as Irsay will continue to collect all of the evidence possible. In the end it will come down to the gut call of one man. A man that will need indisputable evidence that Manning can’t play. Until that time Manning will sit and wait. His past will be his defense and Jim Irsay will be the judge, jury and executioner.

Follow me @Kipicher and @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Colts Hire New Head Coach

The Times They Are A-Changin’

To steal a line from Bob Dylan and from “Anchorman”, the hiring of Chuck Pagano today as the 11th head coach in Indianapolis Colts history signaled a completely new era coming to Indy.  Now, the Horseshoes have a new GM in Ryan Grigson and a new head coach.  Letting go of the established regime and the deliberate work that owner Jim Irsay did in hiring both Grigson and Pagano shows that he is ready to begin a totally new chapter in Colts history.

Chuck Pagano was not a name that I was familiar with to be honest.  In fact the first two guys that came to my mind when I heard the name were Joey Logano the NASCAR driver and Chuck Woolery the host of the old but great Love Connection dating show.  Pagano comes to Indy from the Baltimore Ravens where he served as defensive coordinator this past season.  He has been in Baltimore for the past 4 years serving first as the secondary coach before taking over the DC position. 

Pagano’s hiring along with Grigson coming in spells out the new direction of the Colts.  Irsay has gone with two men who have not had any experience in the positions that they now hold.  Grigson comes from a player personnel background where as Pagano has been a career assistant.  This is not a knock on either of them, but rather it shows that Irsay wanted to have fresh, new voices coming into the organization.  He did not want to go the way of re-using old guys who have been around like so many other teams do.  Instead a new outlook is now upon the squad.

The Colts will now move forward in this new direction with a clean slate.  Pagano is a much different personality than what Jim Caldwell or even Tony Dungy were.  Pagano comes more from the John Harbaugh/Rex Ryan mold and hopefully brings with him that confident leader trait that they both have.  Personally I hope he is closer to Harbaugh than Ryan in his nature as I like the quiet confidence that the Ravens coach possesses.

This hiring also may shed some light on the biggest question in football- Will Peyton Manning be back with the Colts?  It is now obvious that Irsay wants to start something new.  Will that also mean that a new QB will be under center next September on opening day (Hello Andrew Luck!)?  Irsay has said that if Manning had a clean bill of health he would be playing in a Colts uniform.  But if there is one thing I do know is that things do change.  Your thoughts will always evolve as time moves on.  Its like on Saturday morning when you wake up and decide you don’t want to fix something to eat so you venture over to McDonald’s.  As you make this decision you think that you will be good and get something somewhat healthy, but by the time you are at the window they are handing you a super size Big Mac meal with an extra ten piece chicken mcnugget.  See how decisions can change in a short amount of time.  I am not going to completely write off the chance that Manning is back with the Colts next season, but the hiring today makes it seem less likely as the days move along (and I am going to start saving up now for a Luck jersey as that will be a nice first edition Nike jersey to pick up) .

This puzzle that Irsay has been assembling since the Polians were relieved of their duties has had some interesting results so far.  The time he has taken to ponder and perform his due diligence for these hirings has shown that he has determined that a new direction was needed for the organization.  It also shows that for the Colts organization that the times they are a-changin’.

Follow Thad on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Shipyard

No Nonsense Preview: Sycamores VS Northern Iowa

After a brief hiatus I have returned with a new Sycamore preview!!  Now, if only the Sycamores could return to winning a few basketball games!!  Tonight, the Trees welcome Northern Iowa to Hulman Center for a 7:05 tip. Lets take a closer look at the UNI Panthers.

Location: Cedar Falls, IA
Enrollment: 13,080
Notable Alumni: NFL MVP Kurt Warner, NFL linebacker Bryce Paup
Conference: Missouri Valley

Northern Iowa comes into tonight’s match up with a 14-7 overall record, currently sitting 6th in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 4-5 mark. The Panthers have played extremely well at home in the UNI Dome, but have struggled on the road, hopefully that trend will continue tonight!  The Panthers are led by a trio of sharp- shooting guards: Anthony James, Marc Sonnen, along with Johnny Moran and the inside presence of big man Jake Koch. The Panthers have loads of experience, with their core of starters having played in multiple big games over the course of their career. Ben Jacobson always puts a smart, fundamentally sound squad on the court and this year’s Panther team is no different.

Prediction: Trees 62 UNI 68

To say Indiana State has played bad the past several weeks would be a laughable understatement. The Trees have lost 4 straight conference games, and currently sit 9th in the 10 team Missouri Valley Conference with a 2-7 record, not exactly living up to their lofty preseason expectations. UNI shoots the 3 ball as well as anyone in the conference, and anyone who watched Creighton dismantle ISU last Saturday on ESPN2 knows that the Trees cannot contain good shooting teams!  I’m taking the Panthers for the win as my confidence in Indiana State beating anyone at this point in time is very low.