Friday, February 27, 2009

It could happen?

Tomorrow's game could be a Big Ten tournament preview for the Hoosiers.

In the first round, the sixth seed plays the 11th seed.

Penn State is tied with Wisconsin for sixth place in the Big Ten standings. IU is in last place, three games behind Iowa and the Hoosiers' recent play, as well as it's remaining schedule, doesn't inspire too much hope for moving out of the basement.

The Hoosiers played a marginally good game against Penn State in Bloomington, losing by 10. The tournament will be played in Indianapolis, which should be a home game.

The 11 seed is 3-11 all-time in the tournament, but it has advanced to the tournament final before. In 1999, Illinois finished last and made it to the final, where the team lost to Michigan State. Last year, as the 10 seed, Illinois reached the final again, losing to Wisconsin.

If the Hoosiers advance, they would play the No. 3 seed, which today is Purdue. It would be a rivalry game and after the embarrassing loss in the regular season, the Hoosiers may be due for a change.

In the semi-finals, the No. 2, 7 or 10 seeds would be waiting. In order, they are Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa. The Hoosiers already beat Iowa this year and played well against Illinois and Minnesota. That's potentially three wins in three days.

In the final, No. 1 seed Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan or Northwestern. This game presents much more of a challenge. The favorite, Michigan State, will not take the Hoosiers lightly and plays all facets of the game better than IU.

This is really an unlikely scenario. IU has won only one game since Dec. 10. And in many of them they appeared over-matched. But suppose it could happen. Can you imagine the scene at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 15 if IU, a team that couldn't win 10 games in the regular season, was playing for a berth in the NCAA tournament?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A 41-year drought ends

In what must be a season of several dubious firsts, the Hoosiers lost to Northwestern for the first time ever at Assembly Hall. Yes I said ever.

The Hoosiers lost by 22 points, 75-53, on their home floor to a team that had not won in Bloomington since 1968.

Whenever the Hoosiers gained a little momentum, it was quickly snuffed out by a Northwestern three-pointer or conventional basket, followed by an IU turnover or missed shot. It's a problem they haven't solved all year.

A 20-4 run in the second half was the knock-out blow.

This game was probably the last best chance for a win before the Big Ten tournament. The Hoosiers are at Penn State Saturday and then host Michigan State March 3. The regular season ends at Wisconsin March 8.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Mt. Rushmore

I made my picks for the IU football Mt. Rushmore last week. Today the blogger made his.

They were similar: Anthony Thompson, Antwaan Randle El, Bill Mallory, but instead of Trent Green, ESPN picked George Taliaferro, who starred for the Hoosiers in the mid-40s. Taliaferro also became the first black player drafted into the NFL in 1948.

It's a valid pick. I suppose he may be a better pick than Green. Both were great players.

My friend T.J. agreed with Thompson, Taliafero and Mallory, but suggested John Pont, Terry Hoeppner, Lou Saban, Bo McMillin, and Lee Corso.

I don't think Hoeppner coached long enough. He also never really proved he could win. Corso is more known for his TV work than his tenure coaching IU, even if he did win a bowl game in 1979.

When I asked the question on facebook, my friend Drew said Thompson, Harry Gonso, Randle El and Pete Stoyanovich. Another friend said Ogunleye, Green, Thompson and Randle El.

It was an interesting debate, even though the choices were less than stellar.