Archive for June 28, 2012

Rise and Fire

I sit down in my own Man Room here to discuss my thoughts on the Pacers front office shake up that has gone on this week.  Larry Bird and David Morway are out while Kevin Pritchard and Donnie Walsh (yes, that Donnie Walsh) are stepping in to replace.  Plus this is all happening just before the draft.  Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment or Tweeting me @thadvandeventer or @IndySportsCrew.

 

Rise and Fire

Catching Up with IUPUI Coach Todd Howard

I get a chance to speak with the Jaguars coach and look into what they are doing this summer.  The Jags have been busy with basketball camps and individual workouts plus adding a new assistant coach, Don Carlisle, to the staff.  Coach Howard also talks about Alex Young and his prospects in tomorrow’s NBA Draft.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

The Fast Track

Tony D looks ahead to an entertaining weekend for the Indy Car Series in Iowa as 3 qualifying races will set the field for Saturdays 250 lap race. He also gives you his take on Dale Jr. winning at Michigan and who the Pacers could draft with the 26th overall selection in next weeks NBA Draft.

The Fast Track

Rise and Fire

Leading up to this weekend’s IHSAA Baseball State Championship games, I interviewed Shakamak Head Coach Chip Sweet.  The Lakers are getting set to play Lafayette Central Catholic in the Class A State Final.  Coach Sweet talks about his team and what they need to do to come out victorious.  He also discusses what this win would mean to him and his family.  If you like this interview, let me know about it on Twitter @thadvandeventer or @IndySportsCrew.

 

The Fast Track

In this post, I go podcast form and discuss all things IndyCar.  I take a look back at the race in Texas and the news that the China race is now cancelled.  I give my ideas on what tracks may be in the mix to pick up the 16th race of the season.  Follow me on Twitter @TonyD1070 and @IndySportsCrew.

Rise and Fire

Butler Jumping into Atlantic 10

It was announced at the end of May that Butler would be making the move to the Atlantic 10 conference earlier than expected and will begin conference play with fall sports 2012.  The Bulldogs had originally planned the transitioned from the Horizon League to the A-10 to begin with the 2013-2014 season, but an agreement was made between the Horizon League and Butler to make this happen sooner.  (Rumors say that the Horizon League was not going to allow Butler to compete in any of the upcoming league tournaments, but Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone deflected this by saying the league did not have that exit clause in the conference’s by-laws.) This is a big move for all of Butler athletics, but especially for the men’s basketball program.

The Bulldogs have been the top ticket within the Horizon League for more than a decade now and reached the pinnacle of all college basketball in 2010 and 2011 making it to the National Championship game.  Although they did not bring home the title, Butler proved that they were in a good enough position in recruiting and had the right coaching staff/administration to make themselves a nationally known program.  So why make the jump now to switch conferences?  After showcasing your ability to make the tournament, be a consistent Sweet Sixteen team, and play yourself to the brink of the crown twice why is there a feeling to continue to advance your profile you must leave a conference you were a charter member of beginning in 1979?

The reason is opportunity.  Opportunity to give yourself a better chance to succeed.  Yes the Horizon League was great for Butler and they have thrived there for the last 15 years.  However at this time the A-10 gives Butler a better opportunity to continue their success.  The A-10 put four teams (Temple, Xavier, St. Bonaventure, St. Louis) into the NCAA tournament last year and over the past 5 years have consistently gotten 2-3 bids to the dance each season.  Plus with the additions of Butler and new member this year VCU, the A-10 will have a very deep list of solid basketball programs.

This conference will allow Butler the opportunity to not have to have a great regular season followed by a conference tournament that they have to win or make the final just to hope to make the tournament.  The only way Butler could make the NCAA from the Horizon League was to win at least 25-27 games with some strong non-conference wins and make the Horizon League title game.  If they lost they had a shot at an at-large bid.  Obviously the other way they could make the tournament would be winning the HL conference tournament.  The A-10 gives Butler the opportunity of some leeway.  They do not have to nearly perfect for the entire season.  Yes, they will have to win at a high rate and beat some good teams.  They will need to continue playing a good non-conference schedule but their new conference gives them more opportunities to compete against high level competition.

Take Xavier as an example from last season.  The Musketeers struggled in the middle of the season but rallied to finish third in the conference regular season.  They did not win the A-10 tourney and only had a 21-12 overall record.  However, the strength of the league and their non-conference schedule still got them into the tournament where they made the most of it advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

This is the type of opportunity that Butler is looking to be awarded.  They hope this moves allows them some flexibility while also giving them a great opportunity to continue their winning tradition.  The travel will be much different, but some old rivals such as Xavier and Dayton await to crank up their battles.  Coach Brad Stevens has the program in a great position.  They have some nice young talent and good freshman class coming in.  The Bulldogs hope that the timing is right in this state of flux that college athletics are in to make this move a monumental one for them- affording them more opportunities to make some historic March runs.

Follow me on Twitter @thadvandeventer and @IndySportsCrew.

Inside the Man Room

Finally, the coach and I are back in the Man Room after a short hiatus.  We cover all the things we have missed over the past few weeks including the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 and the Pacers playoff run.  We also get some college hoops talk in with the IU-UK scheduling standoff and Butler’s move to the A-10.  Make sure you let us know what you think by following us on Twitter @C_K_42, @thadvandeventer, and @IndySportsCrew.

The Fast Track

Detroit Rock City

Coming off one of the most successful and competitive Indy 500’s in years, the IZOD Indy Car Series returned to the streets of Belle Island on Sunday for the first time since the 2008 season. Veteran car owner Roger Penske was again the promoter of the race with backing from Chevy that got the course back on the schedule. What ensued throughout the weekend, no one could have thought.

Rains came down most of the day on Friday and part way through qualifying day on Sunday. Scott Dixon grabbed the pole, and really grabbed the entire weekend, leading all sixty laps on his way to his 28th career victory. Dixon wasn’t the surprise however.

The race was shortened by 30 laps due to a 2 hour track delay. Three sections of the course needed to be repatched as post hole and chunks of asphalt made the racing conditions less than ideal. On Lap 40, James Hinchcliffe hit a piece of asphalt that sent him into the tire barrier, ending his day early. It was then that race director Beaux Barfield decided to red flag the race and repair the track. By then rains and darkness played into the race, and it was shortened to 60 laps.

When the race restarted with 15 laps to go with Dixon leading his Target Chip Ganassi Dario Franchitti and Simon Pagenaud. Dixon held off Pagenaud on the restart, and after E.J. Viso car came to a stop, Dixon held off Franchitti on the final restart to take the checkered flag leading all 60 laps on the day.

You almost have to feel bad for Roger Penske. During the red flag he was out making sure the track was cleared up, as Penske put so much money and hard work into the event that outside of the pot hole, seemed to be a first class event. Hats off to the ABC and IMS Radio Network coverage, I listened via the radio and Nick Yeoman and Michael Young must have interviewed every driver and then some.

The Indy Car Series heads to the fast and furious Texas Motor Speedway this Saturday night for the Firestone 550k. This year, only the one race will take place unlike last year when two twin 225k races produced two winners. This Saturday, with the new car and such high speeds, Indy Car has decided to go back to the one race format.

Texas is a wild and fast race where being 3-4 mph off the pace could be costly as long green flag runs set a fast race pace. Dixon and Franchitti are riding high, going 1-2 in the last two races. Helio Castroneves is always a force at Texas, as well as Marco Andretti. This should be a tight and very competitive race on Saturday night.