Archive for February 29, 2012

The Flying V

                                           What I Think About What I Think

                                           College Hoops Food For Thought

I’m going to just give you guys a quick rundown of the stuff that I’ve been talking about recently. Hit me up on twitter or facebook if you want to discuss further.

IU had another huge Win at HOME! Too bad the NCAA Tournament isn’t played in Bloomington at Assembly Hall. I still feel IU is a year away, and the bad loses speak for IU, and if you don’t believe me ask Tom Crean whose playing PG next year…’s a hint… it is YOGI not Jordie!

The Irish have hit a slide after nine in a row they have lost two straight. The St. John’s loss was your perfect “look ahead game”, then they went to Georgetown and got beat. The Irish go as far as Jack Cooley goes and when he gets ZERO rebounds on Monday, ND has little chance of winning. Brey and the boys will get it fixed but they need to right it QUICK!

ISU will need a historic and epic run through Arch Madness to repeat as Missouri Valley Tourney Champs. The Sycamores had loads of chances Saturday against Creighton but turnovers, empty possessions, and a very questionable game winning shot attempt add up to a date in the dreaded Thursday game in St. Louis. The Trees will have to win tomorrow against Southern Illinois then turn around with a noon tip against regular season champ Wichita State. If the Trees can string those first two wins together, then they will have a 1 o’clock match-up Saturday with Illinois State or Northern Iowa. If ISU gets that done, a likely date with #2 seed Creighton and MVC player of the Year Doug McDermott. This is not a path that has ever been traveled in the Mo Val tournament, but if anyone is capable its the Trees. They also have a bit of history on their side; coach Greg Lansing was an assistant at Iowa when they went through the Big Ten tourney with 4 wins in 4 days. So ISU has the chance but I’m not betting on any miracles this year at Arch Madness.

Butler needs to win the Horizon League Tourney to make it to the Dance and have a shot at destroying brackets across the land! They’ve turned it around as of late but not enough good wins to get them in! I’m not going to say the Dawgs can’t do it but Valpo is better and that is who I’m sticking with!

Purdue is going to be a team in a lot of NCAA brackets that teams aren’t going to want to see. I know IU fans will say that Purdue is awful and this and that but if I’m Tom Crean I better get my kids over the win Tuesday so that Purdue doesn’t come into town Saturday and punch us in the mouth and steal a win. That being said, Purdue has looked a lot better without team Cancer Kelsey Barlow. He is a good player with a lot of basketball skills, but as a person I think he’s a bad guy and not somebody you want your kids to model themselves after on or off the court. Robbie Hummel is a bad dude and I will be shocked if he doesn’t carry Purdue into the Sweet 16. This is going to be a team that squeaks into an Elite 8 or Final 4, but Sweet 16…. I’m going out on a limb and booking the Boilers for one….Depending on the bracket they get put in of course but I think they have that special feel to them and could steal some money from us come NCAA tourney time!

As always follow me on Twitter let me know what you guys think or don’t think of my thoughts on your team!

Now as is customary I’m going to leave you with two videos…..The first is Gary Harris’ walk off dagger from last night’s Sectional Game. The kid who took the video says it all after the shot falls! The second video is for Davey Jones the front man for my Pops favorite group ever the Monkees who passed away today! The Monkees concert my Dad took me to in sixth grade was my first concert…I’ll always remember that. RIP Davy!!!




The Crimson Corner

Hoosiers Take Down Third Top 5 Foe

Draymond Green did what he could. Sadly, for the Michigan State Spartans, he was the only one as the Indiana Hoosiers controlled Sparty on Tuesday night for a 70-55 Victory. Draymond Green had 29 points and 8 rebounds to lead the Spartans and Cody Zeller had 18 points to lead the Hoosiers. The Hoosiers had the lead for nearly the entire game as they rode the energy of a stark-raving Hoosiers crowd.

Tom Crean had his team swarming on defense and probably had his best coaching performance on the IU sideline. It seemed as though every player on IU played to their strengths and almost put together the perfect game. Oladipo was taking it inside aggressively and playing incredible defense on Draymond Green. Jordy Hulls had no fear whatsoever to pull the trigger. Verdell Jones played under control and got great looks. Cody Zeller, well, this guy could go pro tomorrow and it would make sense (I’ll take out more student loans to pay him to stay though). IU found a way to get him the ball through some pretty incredible passes throughout the evening. If there is still a knock on this team is that they still don’t feed Zeller straight up in the post enough.

The most impressive performance of the night belonged to Christian Watford. How many people could guess that he was going to have 14 rebounds? No, he didn’t lead the team in scoring but he led the charge where the Hoosiers needed it the most, on the boards. Draymond Green had 25 points with ten minutes left in the game. Watford took the challenge on defense and held him to 4 points in the last ten minutes. The effort and intensity of this team truly showed on the defensive end and Tom Crean actually outcoached his mentor Tom Izzo. On offense, IU got wherever they wanted to on the floor and truly frustrated Michigan State.

The performance at Minnesota was a big road win for this team and gave it great momentum. After winning this complete performance, IU has one game left in the regular season and you can almost guarantee there will be no letdown against their rival, Purdue (who is playing well as of late). As far as Tuesday goes, credit the players, the coaching and the crowd, as this was truly a win for the Indiana Basketball Nation. Congrats to Tom Crean for finally beating Tom Izzo in his 8th try. IU sits at 23-7 for the year and the last time they have beaten three top five teams was the ’75-’76 season. Anyone remember what happened at the end of that season?

Follow me @Kipicher and @IndySportsCrew

Rise and Fire

Hoosier Hysteria

March Madness has come a little bit early in Indiana.  The IHSAA Boys Basketball state tournament has begun and legends are already being made.  In the opening round of the sectional, #1 in the state Hamilton Southeastern beat #3 North Central (Indianapolis) on a buzzer beater by Michigan State-bound senior Gary Harris, Jr.  Take a look at two videos of the game winner here.  The third video is of IU-bound senior Jeremy Hollowell sinking a buzzer beater of his own to win #20 Lawrence Central’s tournament opener against Indianapolis Tech.

The Crimson Corner

Hoosiers Look for Lightning to Strike Thrice

I’m sure you’ve heard about Indiana’s big wins at home this season: North Carolina Central, Howard and Savannah State. Heck we even beat Ohio State and Kentucky at home in Assembly Hall this season. Tonight at 7pm, Indiana looks to take a major step towards the postseason when they face the fifth ranked Michigan State Spartans. A win over the Spartans would give IU its third win over a top-five team this season.

Michigan State and IU’s first contest this season was 30 minutes of Michigan State, with IU sneaking in a good 10 minute run, as State cruised to a 15 point win in East Lansing. The combination of Draymond Green and Derrick Nix easily gave Cody Zeller his biggest test of the season as he scored a season low 4 points. Michigan State is a physical team that usually plays as ugly as a Draymond Green dunk. State held Nebraska to 34 points in their last game and is playing to win Big Ten Conference outright.

In order for Indiana to compete with this team they are going to need to play the most physical game of the season. Loose balls and boxing out are going to be just as important as getting Christian Watford going early. Watford scored 26 and grabbed 10 rebounds in their first meeting and is averaging over 20 points against the Spartans in his career. On Sunday, IU put up one of their better defensive performances of the season as they cruised past Minnesota. They will need to re-capture that same defensive intensity tonight. Derrick Elston and Tom Pritchard are going to play key roles tonight, as Michigan State will look to pound on Cody Zeller. Michigan State will look to get Cody in foul trouble early but Pritchard’s five fouls might be Zeller’s saving grace.

The Hoosiers can ill-afford to get into a similar shooting slump as they did in the first game. A big run got them back into the game but Michigan State answered with another huge run as Keith Appling got anything he wanted. The Hoosiers will have the home crowd on their side and there is no doubt Assembly will be ready to give them an extra lift. Look for the Hoosiers to get out on the break and try to wear down the Spartans with Sheladipo, Hulls and the reborn, Verdell Jones III.

A win tonight and IU will be looking at a possible 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A loss would be tough, as a rejuvenated Purdue will come calling on Sunday before the Big Ten Tournament begins.

Follow me @Kipicher and @IndySportsCrew

Rise and Fire

In the final interview as part of our IHSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament preview, I sit down with Bob Lovell- host of Indiana Sports Talk, the most listened to sports talk show in the history of Indiana.  Bob Lovell and I look ahead at the tournament and the favorites to get to the state finals.  We discuss the class system and how it compares to the single class system of yesteryear.  Coach Lovell gives us his opinion on the sectional that is most overlooked and the players that have the chance to really breakout in this year’s tournament.  If you are an Indiana basketball fan, this is an interview you have to tune in to.

Follow Thad on Twitter @thadvandeventer.

The Flying V

The second part of our preview for the IHSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament is an interview with Coach Joey Hart from Linton-Stockton.  I talk to Coach Hart about what it will take for his Miners to advance in the sectional.  We take a look back at Coach Hart’s memories of past tournaments and the tough losses that still hang with him today.  Plus Coach Hart shares some strong views when asked about the IHSAA and the class basketball system.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Follow me on Twitter @C_K_42.

Rise and Fire

In part one of our preview series leading up the IHSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament, I had a chance to interview Lawrenceburg High School Head Coach Mike Pratt.  I ask Coach Pratt about his team and what it will take for them to advance in the Greensburg Sectional.  We even discuss his thoughts on the tournament overall and comparisons to the one class system of the past.

Remember to follow on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Fast Track

Pacers Poised to Make Second Half Run

     After the NBA Lockout cut nearly two months off the season, the NBA All Star Break is upon us already and the Indiana Pacers have been very impressive throughout the first thirty three contests so far. At 21 and 12 overall, and riding a four game winning streak, the Blue and Gold own the fifth best record in the Eastern Conference right now, and would face the fourth seeded Philadelphia 76ers if the playoffs were to start today.

     This is still a relatively young team, one of the youngest in the league. Second year guard Paul George has stepped up his game. From his newly found three point shot to the countless of highlight dunks, the Pacers seem to be heading into the future with Paul George as the go to guy. George, who is average 12 points a ball game, exploded earlier in the year for a career high 30 points on the road against the defending Champion Mavericks. George was seven of eleven from behind the three point stripe, and added nine rebounds to his total.

     The captain Danny Granger leads the team averaging 18 points a contest, he also leads the team in “What the Hell” moments. Dannys been inconsistent throughout the season. He has had scoring outbursts of 36, 32 and a pair for 26 point performances. He has also struggles, posting four points at Toronto and in two loses to the Heat, he has posted three points and six points, his three point performance was due to an ankle sprain. I think Danny will find his rhythm have a strong second half to the season.

     The Difference in this years team from the last, is Danny Granger doesn’t have to put up 25 points a night for the Pacers to have a shot. Roy Hibbert is averaging a double double, and was named to his first All Star game. David West is a huge help, bringing a veteran player, and hard nosed leadership. Although he has struggled as of late, Tyler Hansbrough is a great sixth man, and George Hill could start for most teams around the league.

The Good: All five Pacers starters are averaging double figures per game. The Blue and Gold get it done on the defensive end as well, ranking 4th in the league in rebounding and 9th in points allowed per game. Oh, and the throwback jerseys are excellent.

The Bad: Darren Collison. DC is quick, but has not lived up to his potential, especially on the defensive end. Darren has had some problems with opposing point guards. Deron Williams exploded against the Pacers with 34 points back in January, while Kyrie Irving and Ty Lawson have both had their way against DC and the Pacers. Watch for DC to tightened up in the second half and be key to a Pacers playoff run.

The Ugly- Attendance. This team is fun and exciting to watch night in a night out and it is a shame that more people are not attending Bankers Life Field House. Plenty of ticket deals make it cheap and affordable for families to attend. The Pacers rank 29th in league attendance so far. This is a winning team and its time for the city to get behind them.

Prediction- The Pacers will have some ups and downs, but a favorable schedule should set the Pacers up for fourth or fifth seed in the playoffs. The difference is guaranteed first round home court advantage with the fourth seed.

Inside the Man Room

The Man Room this week is full of basketball talk once again.  We take a look at the Horizon League leaders Valparaiso and Butler.  Discuss what happened at Purdue this weekend and the repercussions it could have on the Boilers.  We throw in some Hoosiers and Pacers talk as well as make a big announcement about Indy Sports Crew!!!

Follow on Twitter @IndySportsCrew, @thadvandeventer, and @c_k_42.

The Crimson Corner

Dr. Zeller and Mr. Watford

The worst thing about having a sports game waiting on your DVR is the anticipation. If you can make it through the day without hearing the score from someone, you’ve won. When you live in Indiana and work in a public place, not hearing the score of the IU game is hard. True commitment takes ignoring your phone for hours and usually kicking everyone out of the house when it is finally your time to watch. Last night was one of those times where I wished I had overheard the score….

The same Indiana team that put 100 on Iowa looked shell-shocked on the road as they lost 78-66 on Sunday night. Matt Gatens went for a career high 30, as Fran and Co. seemed to hit all the right buttons to turn the tables on IU from their earlier matchup. While the first game was very much a run and gun affair, this game turned into longer possessions with Iowa being the primary aggressor pushing the ball on fast breaks. The Hoosiers looked good early but as soon as Iowa went to a zone defense Indiana turned into a Division II Intramural offense. There was no movement, no floor general and no sense of urgency.

Cody Zeller was in typical dominance mode but he seemed to be the only Hoosier that could find any rhythm. As mentioned in previous articles, if Christian Watford and Jordy Hulls don’t score at least 10 points each, this team can’t win. In the case of Watford it seems as though you can tell when he is engaged in the game and when he is ready to head home and hit the PS3. When Watford is on, he’s locking down on defense and taking the ball inside aggressively. When he’s off, he becomes the Carmelo Anthony of the Hoosiers and has everyone watching him take crossover-step back, jump shots.

As far as Hulls goes, it seems as though he really has a tough time against an aggressive defensive backcourt and with bigger athletic guards. If a defender has a chance to close out, there isn’t much Jordy can do, as he doesn’t have the ability to shoot over any defenders. The zone is taking away his ability to use the pick and roll which means his shots are coming further and further behind the three-point line or not at all. While Jordy’s reduced offensive production can be attributed to the flow of the game, Watford’s lack of production is more frustrating. He has the size and skill set to be able to produce evenly on offense with Zeller. It is a shame that it takes either playing a top ranked team or getting chewed out by Crean to fire up Watford to bring his best.

While I focused on these two individuals it seemed as thought the team as a whole was out of sync and wondering what time Watford would be on to play them online in PS3. Road games in the Big Ten are always going to be a test but now this team has lost to Nebraska and Iowa on the road. The home wins are great this year but the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament will not be in the friendly confines of Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are in the Dance but Crean needs to challenge his team to match the intensity on the road or this team will be in for a 9pm curfew for the Dance.

Follow me @Kipicher and @IndySportsCrew