Does the thought of Indiana’s impressive Class of 2012 doing its AAU basketball thing in Fort Wayne this weekend get you excited about what’s going to happen when those guys show up in Bloomington?
Are you buzzed just thinking about next season, when Cody Zeller makes his heralded Hoosier debut?
Of course you are. Forget IU’s three straight 20-loss seasons. The Tom Crean era really begins this year and look for a NIT appearance at least.
Yes, there’s a lot of work to be done, but consider the Big Ten won’t be the top-to-bottom powerhouse it’s been the past few seasons and the Hoosiers should finally, finally, field a veteran team that will look like a Crean-coached squad.
People are pumped, which means IU home games at Assembly Hall just might regain must-have-ticket status.
Despite the recent struggles, the Hoosiers ranked third in the Big Ten and No. 12 nationally by averaging 15,259 a game last season. Wisconsin was No. 1 in the league and No. 7 overall at 17,230. Illinois was second in the league and No. 10 overall at 15,851.
In case you’re wondering, Ohio State was No. 13 nationally at 15,125 followed by No. 15 Michigan State (14,797), No. 17 Purdue (13,916) and No. 24 Minnesota (13,241).
Overall the Big Ten led the nation for the 35th straight season, averaging 12,826 a game.
People like to badmouth the NCAA, and have compelling reasons for doing so, but the latest basketball rule isn’t one of them. The NCAA men’s basketball rules committee has recommended a restricted area arc three feet from the center of the basket where a defender can’t legally take a charge. The rule would go into effect next season if it’s approved by an oversight panel. That panel will meet in June.
The goal is to limit the number of collisions near the basket on charge/blocking plays and make it safer for players. The arc will be painted on the court to make it clearly visible.
“We feel this is a rule that can help offensive players get to the basket and limit physical play,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. He’s chairman of the basketball rules committee.
Homesickness can be a wonderful thing sometimes. Take Morgan Melloh, a Fresno State softball pitching superstar who suddenly has Indiana with championship visions.
Yes, that’s right. The Hoosiers’ Big Ten patsy days are over. They have won 15 straight games, the nation’s longest streak, behind Morgan. She pitched IU past Northwestern 1-0 on Saturday to give the Hoosiers’ a 14-game conference winning streak. They are 35-15 overall, 15-2 in the Big Ten.
None of this would be possible without Melloh, who is 30-14 in what will be her only year in Bloomington. The former Hamilton Southeastern standout has dominated like no other Hoosier pitcher before.
She struck out 13 against Northwestern while recording her 12th shutout of the seaon. She has nation-leading 454 strikeouts this season. She’s just the fifth pitcher in NCAA history to have three or more seasons with 450 strikeouts. She’s won four Big Ten pitcher of the year awards, the most in school history.
Melloh’s success isn’t unexpected. She was 90-35 in three years at Fresno State with 1,138 strikeouts. But she got homesick and transferred to IU and her impact has been impressive. The Hoosiers were just 22-74 in the previous two years.
Now, they lead the Big Ten and, amazing as this sounds, might even be darkhorse national title contenders.
It’s all because Melloh was homesick and wanted to pitch one season where her parents could watch every home game.