Thursday, June 7, 2012

Moving On From Kentucky; IU Job is No. 1; Super Conferences; And More

When it comes to the Indiana-Kentucky basketball series, Tom Crean wants everybody to move on. That’s basically the same thing John Calipari said.

That’s a shame.

Crean spoke at the annual Indiana Tailgate Tour stop at Huber Farms in southern Indiana. He said that the Kentucky Wildcats will do what’s best for them and IU will do the same for its program.

In other words, the game everybody wants to see (except, apparently, the two coaches and the two athletic directors) ain’t gonna happen. The reason -- location and ego.

Again, that’s a shame.

Both teams could be unbeaten and ranked No. 1 and No. 2 by next December. Interest would be off the charts. The money made and the national spotlight would be huge. No matter. That's apparently as relevant now as the San Antonio Spurs' NBA title hopes.
So instead of getting, say,  Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, we'll get IU vs. something like Savannah State.

Crean suggested a TV opportunity has arisen that might change that.

Who’s the opponent?

Will it work out?

We’ll see.

As for that pesky scholarship number glitch -– you know, where Indiana has 14 players and 13 scholarships -– everything remains in limbo.

The nine returning players are on campus. Two of the five incoming freshmen -– Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin -– are already in Bloomington. The other freshmen – Yogi Ferrell, Jeremy Hollowell and Ron Patterson – are playing on the Indiana All-Star team set to face Kentucky this weekend. They’ll report to campus next week.

It all could come down to Maurice Creek, who is still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon after recovering from a pair of knee injuries. He has to get strong enough to be a major contributor, Crean suggested, which means he has to work harder.

For that, too, we’ll see.

In the meantime Crean held firm to the No. 1 priority, which is that every player work hard to improve.

In the end, Kentucky game or not, it should be a season to remember.


Is the college sports world heading to four 16-team super conferences?


There could be a day when a 16-team Big Ten faces a Pac-16 (right now it’s the Pac-12) in the Rose Bowl. Then a 16-team SEC faces the Big 16 (it’s the Big 12 now) in another bowl. Those winners would meet for the national championship.

Or so some believe.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany doesn’t go for it.

During this week’s teleconference he talked about “dilution” issues with large conferences. He said in that scenario rivals wouldn’t play each other as much, which would reduce tradition and meaning.

Delany mentioned the demise of the 16-team WAC and the Big East’s well-documented woes as signs that super conferences might not be the future after all.

That doesn’t mean conferences won’t grow, but he doesn’t see the Big Ten expanding any time soon.

Unless, of course, Notre Dame changes its independent preference.

“But who knows?” he said. “My crystal ball is not that clear.”


If you believe ESPN is all knowing, then you’ve got to love what 14 of its writers and TV analysts had to say about the best coaching job in the Big Ten.

That’s right. Tom Crean has the job guys would kill for if we lived in, say, a Hunger Games society.

The ESPN crew analyzed athletic budgets, facilities, expectations, records, recruiting, tradition, fan support/pressure and a bunch of other stuff.

The IU job was No. 1 in the Big Ten. It wasn’t that way a few years ago, when Crean had to gut the program in the aftermath of the Kelvin Sampson fiasco. The reason, according to ESPN, was that “Tom Crean has the Hoosiers rolling on the court, closing ranks on top recruits in the state and boasting some of the best and newest facilities (can you say thank you, Cook Hall) in the country to boot.”

Ohio State was considered the second-best job followed by Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue.


Point guard Yogi Ferrell and forward Jeremy Hollowell looked very impressive in the Indiana Senior All-Stars’ 121-96 win over the Indiana Junior All-Stars at Pendleton Heights.

Ferrell had 14 points while making 6 of 8 shots. He added eight assists, seven rebounds and a steal. He only had two turnovers, four fewer than in Monday night’s win over the Juniors at Seymour.

Hollowell also had 14 points.


Did you know that for somewhere between $7,500 and $12,500, you could participate in the first John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience? Yes, that’s the same Calipari who coaches at Kentucky.

The catch -– you have to be older than 35. So if you have that kind of money and inclination, you could see what it’s like to play for Calipari and even play games in Rupp Arena.

Calipari announced that “experience” earlier this week. He also talked about the, for now, “former” IU-UK basketball series. He said the impetus for the neutral-site idea came from former Hoosier coach Bob Knight back in the early 1990s, and that Calipari wanted to return to those roots. He said UK was helping IU by agreeing to play at Indianapolis Lucas Oil Stadium, one of America’s greatest sports facilities.

“We offered them two years in their home state,” he said. He added, because of the one-and-done nature of his recruiting, he didn’t want to commit to more than two years on any non-conference series.

Calipari also didn’t buy Indiana athletic director Fred Glass’s comments that a Lucas Oil Stadium site would put an unfair travel burden on Hoosier students.

“They’re only two hours away,” he said. “Are they that poor? They couldn’t get to that building? Our students are going. I mean, ours would go up there.”

For the record, Lucas Oil Stadium is only about an hour away from Bloomington, unless you’re driving, say, a golf cart.


If you missed it, two IU baseball players were drafted by major league teams. Second baseman Micah Johnson, a preseason All-America limited for most of the season because of left elbow surgery, was drafted in the ninth round by the Chicago White Sox, No. 291 overall.

Also, pitcher Chad Martin went in the 10th round as the 314th pick by the Chicago Cubs.

The 6-7 Martin struggled early, but finished strong. He wound up 2-3 with a 4.97 earned run average. His size and 96 mph fastball impressed the Cubs during a workout at Wrigley Field at the end of May.

Johnson played just 24 games and hit just .225 this season because of the elbow injury. As a freshman he hit .312 with 11 home runs and 42 runs batted in. As a sophomore it was .335, three homers, 34 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 19 stolen bases.

1 comment:

  1. Very good article, Pete. I'm glad someone has the guts to put the blame on the series cancellation where it belongs, on the shoulders of the ADs and Coaches, and it appears to be more about egos than anything else. I'm an IU fan, but Cal's proposal isn't unfair. If anything it's more than fair since both games would have been in Central Indiana.