Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Hoosier State Battle

Well, I checked out the Indiana-Purdue game tonight. I don't know what compelled me to do this, but I guess I feel better off for doing so. Both teams have upcoming games against Wisconsin, so it was good to get a look. After their win, Indiana still scares me a lot more than Purdue, though that says a lot more about Purdue than it does about the Hoosiers. This will be a short update, as I didn't watch very closely, and have spent the better part of the evening looking this year's recently released high school brackets and coming up with an absurd plan to blanket the state for games. I'll never execute this plan, but it's fun to dream. Anyway, a few brief thoughts on the Indiana-Purdue game.

1) Well, I guess I was wrong about Purdue's offense--it's not all Carl Landry. Their guards can slash wildly to the hoop and garner a low success rate as well. Man, I feel bad for Gene Keady.

2) Did anyone else see the interview with Kent Benson about the constantly discussed undefeated 1976 Hoosier team that he was on? Two points on this one. First, that sweater that Kent was wearing was just a tad outdated. I half expected him to start asking me to buy some Jello Pudding. Secondly, if I was ever on a legendary undefeated team, I'd hope that I could be a bit more cordial on the microphone. When asked if he thought comparisons of this year's Illinois team were accurate, he could have said something like "Well, there's no doubt that Illinois has an excellent team this year, and they're making one of the better runs at the record that I've seen in awhile. They're not there yet, and I don't know if anyone in this day and age can go undefeated. We really did something specilal in '76, you know." Instead, Benson cut straight to saying that Illinois hasn't gone undefeated yet, and strongly implied that they wouldn't, noting that things would get infinitely tougher in the tournament with "teams like North Carolina and Duke." (Code: Teams that Kent thinks are better than Illinois.) When asked if he thought it would help Illinois to lose a game before the tournament, Benson replied that the toughest thing for Illinois would be being prepared every night, and if they weren't, the stood the chance of losing to "Northwestern or Purdue." (Code: Teams that Kent thinks are terrible.) Let's see--so far Kent has slammed two Big Ten teams, and stopped just short of slamming another. Would it have hurt to have said just once "Illinois is a good team?" Upon reflection, I don't even disagree with most of what he said, but he said it in such a way that I ended up really not liking him. I guess Kent should have his precious 1976 team, though, or else he risks being remembered best as the guy who broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's hand with his face.

3) Again, I might be a tad slow on this one, but I see that Steve Lavin's hair is back to normal. Too bad--I thought he was making progress.

4) Joining Lavin in calling the game was Brent Musberger, who must have noted 15 times in the first half that Mike Davis deserves another year to show his coaching ability before he's fired. With the season that Indiana's had, I suppose I can't disagree with that, no matter how much I'm not a fan of Davis, but Musberger's rationale still bothered me. Musberger argued that we should judge Davis after he brings in his stellar recruiting class next year. Okay, that would be a valid point, except I heard the exact same argument last year! Granted, Josh Smith was supposed to be in Bloomington, and he just won the NBA dunk contest, but D.J. White's no slouch, and losing recruits last minute to the NBA is becoming a fact of life when you have "stellar" level classes. I like giving coaches time to do things, but let's not base that time on a false premise.

5) At one point during the game, Musberger noted how the seating for broadcasts had improved since Bob Knight had left Indiana, and noted that this was because Knight didn't like the media. This is what perplexes me about Knight. He's not a dumb guy, so he had to know that something like this is a two-way street. Not giving the broadcast team the shaft would clealy keep from giving them another reason to dislike Knight and Indiana. Yet Knight shoved them in more difficult seats to work from anyway. What in the world drives this guy, other than to arbitrarily show off his authority?

Okay, I should probably hang it up for the night, since I'm realizing this is sort of an angry take on the night's activities. Hopefully this is the last time I get on a guy for a crippling injury that he suffered over 25 years ago. I'm a nice guy most of the time--really.


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