Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cheaney Returning to IU? Basketball Schedule Challenge

Could Calbert Cheaney join the Indiana basketball coaching staff?

Reports are out (the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Rick Bozich broke it) that the former Hoosier All-America and Big Ten career scoring leader is in position to take the director of operations position.

Nothing is official yet, but if it works out it would be a link to former Cream ‘n Crimson greatness. Cheaney was part of a great run in the early 1990s that saw the Hoosiers soar to No. 1 in the nation and reach the 1992 Final Four, where they ran into Duke and official Ted Valentine.

That’s a blog for another day.

Cheaney scored 2,613 points in his four-year career. Given that few great players stay in college for four years, that Big Ten record might never be broken.

Michigan State's Shawn Respert came the closest with 2531 points. Steve Alford is second in IU history with 2438 points.

Cheaney was a three-time All-America who swept every major player-of-the-year award as a senior when he averaged 22.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. The Hoosiers were 87-16 in his final three seasons.

Cheaney, an Evansville native, had a productive NBA career after being taken with the No. 6 draft pick by Washington. He played for five teams over 13 seasons, and totaled 7,826 points and 2,610 rebounds.

Cheaney spent last year working as an assistant coach for Golden State, the last team he played for before retiring in 2006. Another former Hoosier, Keith Smart, was the head coach before being fired at the end of the year.

IU’s director of operations job opened when Drew Adams left recently to go to New Mexico.

This would be an intriguing opportunity for Cheaney if he wants to get into college coaching, and a chance for coach Tom Crean to solidify his connection with IU tradition.

Oh, yes. It won’t hurt recruiting, either. Cheaney knows what it takes to thrive in the NBA, something EVERY stud high school prospect wants to know. While Cheaney couldn't recruit as director of basketball operations, Crean could certainly mention that if a player came to IU, he could learn first hand from a former NBA player what being a pro is all about.

Yeah, that's a big deal. In fact, so would landing Cheaney.


Adding Nebraska didn’t change the Big Ten’s 18-game conference basketball schedule. What it did do was alter the format so that each team will play seven home-and-home series, and four single games.

Yes, that could have a HUGE impact on the regular season race, and on the Hoosiers’ ability to have a winning record.

In an ideal world, the Big Ten would have gone to a 22-game conference schedule, playing everybody home and home. But coaches were concerned that would produce a brutal schedule no other conference would face and hurt Big Ten teams’ chances of making the NCAA tourney.

They would be right.

What does this mean for Indiana?

It will play Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska and Wisconsin just once next season. Illinois and Northwestern will be at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers will travel to Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Winning at Wisconsin, by the way, is about as easy as beating Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

The Hoosiers will have home-and-home games with Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Penn State.

The final Big Ten schedule with all the dates is set to be released in August.


It looks like IU has gotten its second verbal football commitment in Illinois standout Nick Mangieri. He’s a 6-5, 230-pound two-way player who can handle defensive end, linebacker and tight end. lists him as its No. 33 outside linebacker. He joins offensive tackle Alex Todd, a 6-4, 290-pounder from Ohio who committed earlier.
Players can’t sign until February.


Big Ten clout remains firmly in place after lining up a deal with CBS Sports that will cover basketball games through the 2016-17 season. The agreement, which starts this season, calls for at least 24 appearances by Big Ten teams on the network, including three Big Ten wildcard weekends. CBS will continue to televise the conference’s tournament semifinal and title games. Various women’s teams also will appear on the network.

This continues an arrangement with CBS that began in 1991. CBS sports programming executive vice president Mike Aresco called the Big Ten basketball agreement a “cornerstone of our regular-season NCAA basketball coverage.”

How much that cornerstone was worth was not mentioned in the release, but you know it runs into the millions of dollars.

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