Maybe Tom Crean and his Indiana basketball staff can figure out how to attack Syracuse’s match-up zone now that the Hoosiers have seven months to prepare rather than the four days prior to a Sweet 16 encounter in the NCAA tournament.
Indiana lost that meeting 61-50Boston College at Purdue at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. while being held to its lowest point total of the season.
Syracuse, of course, will be playing its first game as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference after jumping from the Big East. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim also will have to replace sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who has declared for the NBA draft, and seniors James Southerland and Brandon Triche. Those three accounted for 43 of Syracuse’s 61 points against the Hoosiers and 16 of 33 rebounds. Carter-Williams led all scorers with 24 points.
Indiana will be without four of its five starters – Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford — as well as reserve guards Remy Abell and Maurice Creek. The four starters accounted or 39 of IU’s 50 points and 21 of 34 rebounds.
Both teams will be breaking in large recruiting classes with the Hoosiers bringing in six freshmen and the Orange boasting a five-player class.
The series also includes Dec. 3 contests featuring Illinois at Georgia Tech and Notre Dame at Iowa, and a Dec. 4 game with Purdue hosting Boston College.
The ACC leads the yearly challenge series 10-3-1. The series ended in a split last year.
Tuesday, December 3rd
Indiana at Syracuse
Illinois at Georgia Tech
Notre Dame at Iowa
Michigan at Duke
Florida State at Minnesota
Penn State at Pittsburgh
Wednesday, December 4th
Boston College at Purdue
North Carolina at Michigan State
Maryland at Ohio State
Miami at Nebraska
Wisconsin at Virginia
Northwestern at NC State
Comments from winning trainer Shug McGaughey III, jockey Joel Rosario and owners Dinny Phipps and Stuart Janney after favored Orb won Saturday’s 139th Kentucky Derby:
SHUG McGAUGHEY: Obviously it’s a huge, huge thrill for me. It’s a race I’ve always wanted to win, a race I’ve always wanted to compete in if I thought I had the right horse, and finally today we had the right horse.
I don’t know what it will be like tomorrow morning when I pinch myself and figure all this out, but there’s a lot of people to thank and I’m just the guy that pushed the button, but with Stuart and Dinny and the people in my barn, put so much time and pride into Orb as well as all the rest of them, they’re the real key, and like I say, I’m the lucky one that gets the accolades and the trophy.
I was excited today a lot more than being nervous, and I did think I had the right horse. He’d done everything well. He did everything well all winter. We shipped him up here, all that went well. He seemed to get over the track. Every day we trained him, he got over the track good.
He had a great workout here on Monday and he was terrific in the paddock today and post parade and going in the gate, and so when they swung the latch, I thought to myself, just enjoy the race. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Luckily it did work today.
JOEL ROSARIO: This race is really special. You can see all these people, I mean, it’s something really unbelievable to see. Like right now I feel like I win the Kentucky Derby, it’s like a dream. I feel so good right now, I can’t explain to you how I feel.
DINNY PHIPPS: I think it’s terrific, absolutely wonderful. It’s really the culmination of horse racing, and I am thrilled to be here today.
STUART JANNEY: I remember when Shug was inducted into the Hall of Fame that he said at the end of his speech, I really would like to win a Kentucky Derby for Stuart or Dinny, and I thought, well, that’s a good sign because we don’t want him laying down after he gets in the Hall of Fame..
So we like thinking forwardly. But I think he’s been very smart to pick one of the horses in the barn that the two of us own together so he doesn’t have to worry about that particular promise with one disappointed owner and one very happy owner.
My mom passed a week ago Monday at the age of 85 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and other health issues.
I had just taken some vacation time two weeks ago to visit her in Columbia, S.C. and two days after I was back in Evansville, my younger sister called to tell me that mom had died shortly after going to bed Monday night.
She was a strong-willed Christian woman who made my dating life difficult in high school. If she could have conducted instant background checks on any girl I was interested in, she would have. She wanted to know the names of parents (I rarely knew that), what church the family attended, how they were doing in school, etc.
But even then, she had to like them. As far as she was concerned, if they didn’t go to North Trenholm Baptist Church, I was wasting my time.
I made the mistake as a high school sophomore of falling for a girl who was a year younger than me who wasn’t a member of our church. And poor Dorothy made the mistake of sitting on my lap in my mom’s presence. The relationship didn’t last much more than a month after that.
My mom never did get over her judgmental ways when it came to girlfriends and boyfriends of her children. She made it known in various ways that she didn’t care for any of the people my sisters and I chose to date.
It took a couple of years for her to admit that I had made a good choice when I popped the question to Marie. After all, our relationship had started off on the wrong foot when Marie moved in with me in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Our living in sin was a practical matter. Marie lived in Sarasota and I had taken a job in St. Petersburg, so it was either move in together or risk my demise driving an hour each way every night after work.
The revelation came to me in the wee hours one night when I momentarily dozed and found myself on the path of destruction with a concrete barrier at the Bradenton side of the Sunshine Skyway.
Marie and I have been married for more than 33 years, so my mom was wrong at least once in her life.
But she was an amazing woman who had a career as a nurse, then opened her own catering business and eventually decided to pursue a history degree at the University of South Carolina in her 50s. She did so well, she was chosen for a year long program based in England that allowed her to study European history.
I write this as way of explanation for my absence the past couple of weeks.
My dad died 10 years ago at the age of 75, so I now know the pain of losing both parents. It’s not easy.
I will be back at work on Wednesday.
After going a combined 6-11 in bowl games the past two years, it appears the Big Ten may have finally gotten the word that it has neither Leaders or Legends in the modern day world of college football.
Plus, with the additions of Maryland and Rutgers in 2014 — swelling the Big Ten ranks to 14 teams — something had to give. And thankfully, it was the division names.
Or at least it appears that once Maryland and Rutgers come on board, the league is going to go with East and West divisions. Sort of, anyway.
The only downside in our state is that Purdue and Indiana appear to be headed for different divisions. But without any football leverage, that probably was quickly rubber-stamped by the league’s presidents and athletic directors.
If you are keeping score at home, the East Division would be comprised of Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.
The West would have Purdue joined by Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin.
The Big Ten also will begin playing a nine-game conference schedule in 2014 likely with the idea of permanently preserving at least one rivalry game against a team in the other division (i.e., Old Oaken Bucket Game).
Also, a push is expected to be made for schools to upgrade their non-conference schedules by playing fewer FCS schools.
As for basketball, an unbalanced schedule of 18 games likely will remain with each school playing just five schools home and away each season rather than seven.
What do you think, folks?
Did you ever really get a grasp of which schools were in the Leaders and Legends divisions.
Conjuring up memories of “The Fridge” during the Chicago Bears’ championship season of 1985, Notre Dame but super-sized nose guard Louis Nix in the backfield for a play during Saturday’s Blue-Gold Spring Game.
Nix, listed at 305 (pretty sure those last two digits should be reversed) but still gifted athletically, had a bet with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.
So after the only touchdown of the spring game was scored, Nix came trotting out for the two-point conversion. He lined up at quarterback in the shotgun, faked as if he was going to pass, and then pulled the football down and rambled up the middle.
All that was missing was the sound of the Purdue train whistle. Sorry Boilermakers, but Notre Dame has a “Freight Train” in its playbook.
Linebacker Kendall Moore could have attempted to tackle Nix at the goal line. Instead, he quickly got out of the way — along with everyone else.
“They were scared,” said Nix. “I wouldn’t want to tackle me. Would you?” Nix asked. “I saw fear in his eyes. I would have done the same thing.”
Kelly said he wasn’t too concerned with the lack of offensive production. A lack of depth on the lines forced the Irish coaching staff to again go with a spring game concept that was nothing more than offense vs. defense. A manufactured scoring system enabled the defense to prevail 54-43.
The offense also benefited from some bogus bonus points, but the only scoring came from three field goals by Nick Tausch and a touchdown connection between freshman quarterback Malik Zaire and C.J. Prosise that covered 35 yards.
Then came Nix to part the defense.
Returning starting quarterback Everett Golson completed just 6 of 13 passes for 98 yards and was picked off in the end zone by safety Matthias Farley.
The crowd of 31,652 was about 7,000 less than the average spring crowd in the Southeastern Conference. In the SEC, seven schools had at least 35,000 in attendance — Auburn (83,401), Alabama (78,315), Tennessee (61,0760). Arkansas (51,088), Kentucky (50,831), Georgia (45,113) and South Carolina (35,218).
Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday that a latck of depth will again prevent the Irish from going head-to-head with split squads during Saturday’s Blue-Gold Spring Football Game.
Instead, it again will be an offense vs. defense format with the defense being awarded points for fumbles, interceptions and three-and-outs by the offense.
“I know its the thrilling scoring system y’all all wait for, but it will be similar to what we had last year,” said Kelly. “We just don’t have the numbers. Hopefully, I’m standing here next year at this time with a full stock of offensive linemen and eight decent wide receivers.
“That’s really what’s holding us up from splitting the squad up into a true Blue-Gold scrimmage.”
Kelly said the defense will be wearing blue jerseys and the offense will wear white.
Seven players won’t participate because of injuries. Linebacker Dan Fox, safety Nicky Baratti, cornerback Bennett Jackson and defensive lineman Chase Hounshell are all out with shoulder injuries. Running back Amir Carlisle (broken collarbone), wide receiver Corey Robinson (hyperextended elbow) and running back Tyler Plantz (foot) are also being held out of contact drills.
PURDUE SPRING AWARDS
Purdue coach Darrell Hazell announced the spring football achievement awards earlier this week.
Offensive lineman Jordan Roos and defensive tackle Ryan Watson were named the Most Improved Award winners, true freshman Danny Etling was the Newcomer Award winner, center Robert Kugler and defensive end Ryan Russell were the Pit Bull Award winners (players that exemplified and sustained tenacity and intensity) and Frankie Williams was the Hammer Award winner as the hardest hitter of the spring.
The team did not vote on team captains after the spring practices and will wait until fall camp to do so.
SPRING FOOTBALL ATTENDANCE
Spring football attendance is always a mixed bag. Most schools make it a freebie for the fans, while other charge a nominal fee to cover the costs of stadium support staff.
The surprise from all of the numbers so far? Kentucky’s attendance last week of 50,831 — and no, the basketball team didn’t play a scrimmage at halftime on a makeshift court.
The excitement was generated from the promise of new coach Stoops, a former assistant at Florida State who so far has talked a good game of building a Wildcats team that will attack on offense and defense.
Texas A&M 45212
Ohio State 37643
South Carolina 35218
Florida State 27500
Southern Cal 15284
North Carolina 15000
Brigham Young 12000
Boise State 9146
Today’s bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon brought back memories of the bombing at Centennial Park during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Centennial Park was located across the street from the media center and as I was leaving that night, I ran into a fellow journalist and friend who almost convinced me to head over to the park for a few beers and the free concert that was taking place.
Frankly, if I had been staying in a downtown hotel, I would have gone. But it was after midnight, I was tired, and mornings come quickly when you are covering an Olympics for a small newspaper. Plus, the fleabag hotel I was staying in was located just outside Decatur, which meant taking the train to an end of the line station. And then still driving another eight minutes or so to the hotel.
So I reluctantly passed up the free concert and headed to the Roach Motel with its shower with the metallic smell. I was pretty exhausted when I got to the room, but I turned on the TV out of habit and the stations were all covering the park bombing.
I remember debating myself over whether I should drive downtown to cover it, but after about a 13-hour day my dedication wavered.
Instead, I set the alarm for 6 a.m. so I could get back to the media center as early as possible.
The Olympics weren’t all fun and games after that, but it was one of those events I wanted to check off my bucket list as a sports writer.
Covering a senseless bombing that injures hundreds of folks, not so much.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Boston victims, most of them spectators who were downtown to watch the runners and celebrate Patriot’s Day in Boston. It was a horrific act of terrorism that exacted a particular heavy price on one family.
After watching all the video from Boston, I also had a moment of silence for the hundreds of victims in Atlanta, including the two who died there. If I had gone to the concert, I doubt I would have been anywhere near the pipe bombs that exploded on July 27, 1996 in downtown Atlanta.
But I would have heard the blast and seen the panic first hand, and I thank God I don’t have those memories to haunt me.
Running back Akeem Hunt played in all 13 games for Purdue last season but he only carried the football 42 times, meaning he had a little over three carries per game.
He finished the season with 335 yards rushing for an average of nearly eight yards per carry while backing up Akeem Shavers. Needless to say, those numbers didn’t satisfy Hunt, who aspires to be an every-down back.
With the slate wiped clean because of a coaching change, Hunt has been determined to make a good impression on new Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell with his speed, athleticism and toughness.
“I think he’s a marquee guy in this league because he does have some balance,” Hazell said. “He has some in-line quickness and top-end speed to take it the distance. He is showing some toughness. You saw him finish a couple of runs where he lowered his shoulder and got some of those hidden yards.”
Saturday’s Black and Gold Spring Football Game gave the junior another opportunity to prove he can handle the punishment that a running back has to absorb in the Big Ten. Hunt was even on the receiving end of some pregame taunting by members of the Gold Team, who all but dared him to run right at them.
“Yeah, I was motivated when they said that because I know what type of player I am,” said Hunt. “They were just trash talking to trash talk.”
Hunt made them swallow their words by rushing for 134 yards on 19 carries and scoring on a 15-yard run to help the Black to a 14-0 victory. He also caught two passes for nine yards.
“I felt I played great, but it was because of the mindset of the offensive line. They came into the game saying we were going to rush for over 300 yards — that’s what they told me — and I was right there with them,” said Hunt.
In a game in which the defenses dominated, that didn’t happen. The two teams only combined for 155 rushing yards. But the 19 carries by Hunt did show he has the stamina to be a featured back and not just a guy coming off the bench to run “sprint runs to the outside” or return kickoffs.
Hunt was one of the better kick returners in the Big Ten with 867 return yards on 39 attempts, including a 100-yarder at Ohio State.
So far, Hazell has liked what he’s seen from the rest of the players.
“We’re working hard and I think we’re understanding how to compete in some tough situations,” said Hazell. “Obviously, here’s a lot of work to be done before we open the season against Cincinnati, but I think we’re beginning to understand what it takes to be a better football team now.”
At 5-foot-7, Shane Wynn isn’t exactly a big receiver, but he is capable of putting up big numbers.
During Saturday’s Cream & Crimson Spring Game, the Indiana junior caught six passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the Cream’s 21-7 victory. Both of the scoring plays came with Cam Coffman at quarterback for the Cream team, covering 22 yards in the first quarter and 16 yards in the third quarter.
Wynn led the Hoosiers last season with 68 receptions for 660 yards and six touchdowns. On Saturday, he caught six passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns as the Cream defeated the Crimson 21-7.
Wynn joked that because of his size, he makes it his priority not to get hit.
“I don’t like getting hit, so I just beat everybody — or try to beat everybody,” said Wynn. “The main thing is just running fast and playing fast and making people miss.”
Cody Latimer also had a big day with four catches for 62 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld. Duwyce Wilson made four catches for 50 yards and Isiah Roundtree had two receptions for 42 yards.
Indiana quarterbacks Coffman, Sudfeld and Tre Roberson combined for 424 passing yards and three of the four touchdowns that were scored.
Wynn agrees with IU head coach Kevin Wilson that the competition for the starting quarterback job is too close to call at the moment because each of the three have different strengths.
“It’s a different velocity of ball from Tre, Cam and Nate,” said Wynn. “Nate and Tre have a touch, but Cam’s got a laser. Cam got the ball to me real quick. Like I said, he throws a laser.”
And Wynn runs like the wind.
“Especially my being little, you’re just trying to do things that they don’t think you can do,” he said.