Sunday, April 15, 2007

Baseball update.

The baseball Hoosiers continue to struggle against major conference competition. IU stands at 3-6 in the Big Ten and 13-15 overall entering today's tripleheader at Purdue. The Hoosier offense continue to look anemic (still only two homeruns all year, as opposed to 12 allowed by the IU pitching staff), but IU does seem to be getting some quality pitching outings from a couple of young guys, previously mentioned freshman Matt Bashore and sophomore Tyler Tufts. As previously noted, IU coach Tracy Smith formerly was the coach at Miami of Ohio, and both Bashore and Tufts hail from the Buckeye state. Bashore continues to pitch well, with a 2.59 ERA and .221 opponents batting average.

Spring practice concludes.

It's always difficult to draw much insight from these scrimmages, but despite some nasty, February-like weather, both Hoosier offenses seem to have played well in the 27-26 win by...well, whichever team won. I hate spring games. As usual, I would refer you to the Hoosier Scoop for some nice coverage of the Cream and Crimson Game, as well as a post indicating that Coach Hep sent an e-mail to the players. Neither IU nor Hoeppner has released any information about his status or expected return, and Doug Wilson notes that while many expected him to make an appearance yesterday, he apparently did not do so.
While Hep's health problems are a cloud over this program, much returning talent and a favorable schedule hopefully will make this season a memorable one for a program that hasn't been to the postseason since 1993. Four and a half months, a long summer ahead of us, and then the glorious beginning of college football.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

News and notes.

Sorry for the lack of updates. The real job and a baby on the way about a month from tomorrow have slowed me down.
  • Joe Tiller: not a nice man. Look, I can imagine that it's upsetting to find one's players staying out until 2 a.m. on a weeknight during spring practice. But when the reason the coach finds out about it is because a player was stabbed and is in intensive care, perhaps a bit of compassion is in order. Can you imagine how the kid's parents felt, the coach expressing his lack of concern while their son was in the hospital hooked up to a bunch of machines? The various recruiting and PR flaps at Purdue simply cannot help recruiting. I know that given Tiller's 10-1 record against IU, this comes across like sour grapes, and it probably is to some degree, but the guy is becoming an embarrassment.
  • Basketball coaching carousel. Michigan replaced Tommy Amaker with John Beilein. Iowa replaced Steve Alford with Todd Lickliter. Minnesota replaced Dan Monson with Tubby Smith. Lickliter is a bit of a gamble, but Beilein and Smith both have won in major conferences and, particularly along with Kelvin Sampson replacing Mike Davis a year ago, the Big Ten's dead weight is largely gone. The fans who really must be clenching up are the Northwestern and Penn State fans. How will those programs ever get out of the cellar?
  • Spring practice continues. I really want to talk about football, but I just cannot get into spring practice. Ever. It's just a big tease. "Ha, we'll put on the uniforms and hold press conference, but you don't get to see a real game for five months!" IU held a scrimmage today, the traditional "Pancakes and Pigskin" day, but IU canceled the breakfast because of the cold. Admirably, Doug Wilson liveblogged today's public scrimmage.
  • Kentucky hires Billy Gillispie. Kentucky hired Billy Gillispie away from Texas A&M. That's a pretty sound hire, but not a home run. Gillispie seems like a good coach, and Kentucky is one of the few programs that has never hired a subpar coach during the NCAA Tournament era. After Rupp, Joe B. Hall won a title, Eddie Sutton had some success before scandal cut his UK tenure short, Rick Pitino rebuilt the program, and Tubby won a title and a bunch of games. Of course, Gillispie has only a handful of seasons of head coaching experience, but he seems to have the personality, and he did a remarkable job at a school with no history of success in basketball. His resume is probably less impressive than that of Tubby Smith when UK hired him, but after nine years of disappointment, it probably was time for a change.
  • Baseball off to a rough start. IU stands at 11-11 after dropping three of four to MSU in last weekend's opener. This weekend's series against Northwestern has been hampered by the weather.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Another one bites the dust.

While Joey Shaw's status remains undecided, Xavier Keeling is transferring. That isn't a huge surprise. Keeling is from Alabama, and it will be interesting to see if he ends up with Mike Davis at UAB. That also definitively opens the door for Juco transfer DeAndre Thomas.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Joey Shaw to transfer?

An entry on the H-T's Hoosier Scoop blog, posted and quickly retracted, suggests that Joey Shaw is going to transfer from IU. Shaw certainly had his moments this year, and I would have like to see Shaw develop over the years, but at least this loss, if it comes to pass, will be at a position where IU has some depth. The quotes in the now-departed blog entry suggest some dissatisfaction with the staff re: whether Shaw was given a fair shot. Most of Shaw's problems would seem to have been on the defensive end. Particularly, Shaw was a foul machine. Shaw's 400 minutes ranked a distant seventh on the team (Shaw played only 56 percent as many minutes as Lance Stemler, who was sixth with 714 minutes). Nevertheless, Shaw's 71 fouls ranked him among the team leaders. DJ White committed only 84 fouls in 1017 minutes, Wilmont 77 in 950, Calloway 59 in 809, Bassett 59 in 881, Ratliff 78 in 661, Stemler 79 in 714. Thanks to nice round numbers, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Shaw averaged 7.1 fouls per nine minutes.
I don't mean this to sound like sour grapes. I liked Shaw's game, his potential, his enthusiasm. But as we are quickly learning, defense is paramount in Sampsonland, and I have to imagine that's why Joey wasn't playing much even in when he wasn't in foul trouble.
UPDATE: According to the H-T, Shaw remains undecided, notwithstanding some pointed comments by a member of his family.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Football scrimmage.

The football team held a public scrimmage yesterday. As always, Doug Wilson of the Bloomington Herald Times has a nice firsthand account.

OSU against Florida.

It's a replay of the BCS championship game, except that the two schools' fans actually care about football. I was very proud of my bracket entering this weekend, because for the first time in memory I correctly picked every Final Four qualifier. Unfortunately, I had Georgetown winning it all, so I'm not going to win any money.
It's odd. I really didn't give much thought to OSU, Oden, and Conley during the regular season. As Norm Dale would say, I support the IU team for what they are rather than dwelling on what they are not. Still, ever since IU was eliminated, the bitter factor has been increasing. I have nothing against Oden and Conley. They made wise decisions, electing not to entrust their careers to Mike Davis. But I'm petty, and I don't want them to win a championship. I don't want to see a new college basketball power on our eastern border that exists primarily because of the nonfeasance of the IU administration in March 2005. So be it. The future is bright at IU, but Kelvin Sampson has a tougher job because the administration waited too long to make a move on Davis.