Friday, December 3, 2010
OK, Hoosiers Fans, The Season Has Now Started
Indiana coasted through its first six home games, mostly allowing lesser teams to test their mettle in the first half before pulling away down the stretch. An undefeated (and untested) 6-0, the Hoosiers proceeded to let Boston College dictate the tone of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge game on the road this Wednesday, mounting a desperate second half comeback that fell short.
No, I'm not writing for Bleacher Report this year. So, now that I think about it, screw the formalities.
What do y'all think about this IU team? Okay, not this one exactly, but the 2011 edition.
I've got a couple of thoughts, which I will now obligingly share with you, in classic Peter Kingian Style:
1. Tom Crean and staff (and team!) have done a fantastic job on the recruiting trail. It's not just Cody Zeller and Yogi Ferrell, either. Ron Patterson and Hanner Perea are big-time signings. Austin Etherington is no joke. I'm not even going to talk about the Class of 2014, because hopefully I will have escaped this black hole of a college town by then.
1a. However, if the big-time recruits become the only positive of this season, I will not be pleased. If IU keeps losing and waiting on saviors, we're screwed. This sophomore class was ranked No. 5 nationally when they came in, and it's time for some results.
2. Speaking of which, Christian Watford has been an absolute beast so far. If he can stay healthy and maintain this intensity, he's in the running for some kind of All-Big Ten honors, even in a ridiculously stacked year.
3. Maurice Creek is not all the way back yet. The rust from a year of rehabbing really shows.
4. Don Fischer is still the best in the business. So far I've listened to almost every game on the radio while delivery driving - the addition of Coach Rory (and subtraction of Todd Leary) as the color man lets The Fish relax and have some fun with his job while Rory plays straight man - plus, considering he was coaching middle school ball this time last year, Rory knows his stuff.
5. I expect Jordan Hulls to stay in the starting lineup all year, along with Verdell and Watford. At some point, unless Creek starts to heat up, Oladipo is going to take his job. Same goes for Derek Elston with Tom Pritchard.
6. Ken Pomeroy's rankings are still the most valuable resource for college basketball fans on the interwebs. You can find them at www.kenpom.com. Presently, Pomeroy (who, yes, I have emailed back and forth with - does that count as name dropping? If so, I'm an ass.) has the Hoosiers at a shockingly decent No. 62 in the nation, with a projected final record of 16-14 (6-12). These projections are constantly being adjusted by algorithmical (HOW is that not a word, blogspot??) magic, so check back often.
6a. That No. 62 puts us ahead of Iowa, Penn State, and Michigan in the Big Ten. Frankly, we should be better than all of those teams this year.
6b. Our next true road game is against Kentucky, and I want to go. Pom has them at No. 6, and I believe the pollsters mostly agree, yes? Anyone up for a li'l Lexington road trip next Saturday?
6c. Ohio State at 3, Wisconsin at 5, Illinois at 11, Michigan State at 12. Ladies and gentlemen, the Big Ten's torchbearers for 2011. (Purdue is 18th, Minnesota 35th, Northwestern 52nd, then comes the Hoosiers. Eight bids? Hey, we can dream, right?)
7. I will be buying my tickets for this year's Big Ten Tournament as soon as they come out. Last year was a blast, so anybody that wants to join in on the quarter-betting tailgating action at Conseco in March, let me know! (Below: Devoe Joseph, probably my favorite guy to watch at the tourney last season.)
8. Yeah, yeah, I know, King does ten. But I'm not giving you any BS-y travel complaints! Okay, just one. I have travelled up and down I-65 six times in the last week and a half. The good exits? 140 (Starbucks, Taco Bell, Burger King), 168 (clean restrooms), 201 (subway at Pilot), 240 (Great big clean gas stations, and, umm, the Lion's Den, not that I've ever been there.). Also ate at the Chili's at 172, the Lafayette exit.
9. Hey, how 'bout Adam Dunn and AJ Pierzynski? I think Pauly is getting wooed pretty hard right now by a number of teams, but hopefully Kenny "All In" Williams can get the job done and get the Captain back on board.
9a. Bobby Jenks, good luck in middle relief in the NL.
10. According to scuttlebutt from my fellow senior writer Steve 'Snuffles' Noffke, Tommy Bowden is in the mix for the IU Football job. I'd be okay with that, but Mike Leach is still my favorite, if he would be willing to come north.