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NCAA, per the usual, drops the ball with Memphis ruling

The story of the day Thursday in college basketball was the NCAA’s announcement that the run to the national championship for the 2007-2008 Memphis Tigers is now wiped from the record books.

That Memphis club, which won 38 games before falling to Kansas 75-68 in the title game, was spearheaded by freshman point guard Derrick Rose. And after a lengthy investigation, the NCAA ruled that something just didn’t smell right when Rose took the SAT on May 5, 2007.

After failing to achieve a qualifying score on the ACT each of the three times he took the test in Chicago, someone, presumably not Rose, achieved the SAT scores needed on that early day in May.

Only this time the test was taken in Detroit, which also happens to be the home of William Wesley. You might know Wesley better as World Wide Wes, a confidant of Calipari. You do the math.

Calipari will do his usual song and dance when pressed to disclose whether or not he knew of possible indiscretions with Rose’s test score: Deny, deny and deny some more. It’s all in the past, right? It’s the same tune currently being belted in Lexington by fans who are desperate for a winner after Billy Gillispie flamed out last spring in the NIT.

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Audio: Tom Crean on Indy’s XL 950

Our friend Derek Schultz, sports director at Indianapolis’ XL 950, passed along the audio from an interview with Tom Crean that aired Wednesday afternoon. The Indiana coach talks about the recently released schedule, Dick Vitale, Bawa Muniru/Maurice Creek and the Rick Pitino situation. Listen to the complete interview with Crean in the embedded audio player below:

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2009-2010 schedule: Five easiest opponents

Indiana released it’s 2009-2010 schedule earlier today and here’s a look at five of the easiest opponents on the docket. Going to format this a little different from Alex, via a process of elimination (and since my scouting prowess does not include USC-Upstate). Actually, it’s more of a “games IU should not, under any circumstances, lose.”

OK, so here’s how we’re going to shave this down to five teams. We’re going to eliminate all road Big Ten games from the equation. (Yes, even the Feb. 7 almost-home game at Northwestern and the Feb. 28 tilt at Iowa.) In fact, we’re going to eliminate all conference games, seeing as IU is projected near the bottom of the league again this year.

What else? Big Ten-ACC Challenge game against Maryland? See ya. The entire Puerto Rico Tipoff and the matchup with Pittsburgh in the Jimmy V Classic? Gone. Kentucky at home? Gone.

I think you see where I’m going with this: the vaunted non-conference home games before Big Ten season starts; the games IU (mostly) won during last year’s rough season.

They are as follows: Howard (Nov. 13), USC-Upstate (Nov. 16), Northwestern State (Nov. 28), North Carolina Central (Dec. 19), Loyola (Maryland) (Dec. 22) and Bryant (Dec. 28).

That’s six teams. Whoops. Let’s cut out Loyola (Maryland). OK, that should do it.  My work here is done.

2009-2010 schedule: Five toughest opponents

Indiana released it’s 2009-2010 schedule earlier today and here’s a look at five of the toughest opponents on the docket.

5. Maryland (Assembly Hall, December 1, 7:30 PM, ESPN2): Senior guard Greivis Vasquez returns to lead a Terrapin team that went 21-14 a year ago, advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and should be among the top 25 teams in the country. The Venezuela native averaged 17.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 5.0 apg as a junior and tested the NBA Draft waters before deciding to return. Besides Vasquez, Gary Williams returns three other starters. It will be the first trip for Maryland to Assembly Hall.

4. Michigan (Crisler Arena, January 14, 9:00 PM, ESPN/ESPN2): Year three of the John Beilein era in Ann Arbor could find the Wolverines square in the middle of the Big Ten race with Michigan State and Purdue. After winning one game in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, Beilein has the pieces in place to make a run deeper into March. The one-two punch of guard Manny Harris and forward DeShawn Sims is arguably the best in the conference and the supporting cast is strong with guards Laval Lucas-Perry, Stu Douglass and Zack Novak all returning.

3. Michigan State (Assembly Hall, February 16, 7:00 PM, ESPN): The Spartans knocked off a pair of No. 1 seeds in Connecticut and Louisville a year ago before falling to North Carolina in the national championship. Forward Goran Suton and guard Travis Walton are both gone, but Kalin Lucas returns as the front runner for Big Ten Player of the Year. Sprinkle in a healthy Delvon Roe with wings Durrell Summers and Chris Allen and the Spartans could be looking at Tom Izzo’s sixth Final Four appearance.

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Indiana releases 2009-2010 men’s basketball schedule

Indiana released it’s 2009-2010 men’s basketball schedule just a couple of minutes ago. Aside from a few dates and times, the schedule is complete and features the following non-conference opponents: Howard, USC-Upstate, Ole Miss, Northwestern State, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, North Carolina Central, Loyola (MD) and Bryant. Not exactly full of juggernauts, but for a young team looking to improve upon a six-win season, that’s to be expected.

The Hoosiers will open Big Ten play on New Year’s Eve at Assembly Hall against Michigan at noon on ESPN2. A couple of other Big Ten games of note: at Ohio State on January 6, at Michigan on January 14, at Illinois on January 30, vs. Purdue on February 4, vs. Michigan State on February 16 and at Purdue on March 2/3/4.

You can see the complete slate of games here and we’ll dig deeper into the schedule in just a bit. For now, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

Bobby Capobianco and Christian Watford speak

We’re a couple of days late to the punch on these, but since I was on vacation last week, I have a reasonable excuse, no? Last week, the four IU freshman who’ve been on campus all summer, Bobby Capobianco, Christian Watford, Derek Elston and Jordan Hulls, were available to the media for the first time as IU players.

And someone from IU was on hand with a camera to ask questions. Interviews with Capobianco and Watford are available in the embedded video players below. Both come off as intelligent guys that should represent the program well.



Maurice Creek says he’s headed to Bloomington

The last time we were able to speak with Maurice Creek was at the at the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic in late April. At the time, we were under the assumption that Creek would arrive with the other IU freshmen in time for the beginning of the first summer session in Bloomington.

When Creek didn’t show, both Jordan Cohen of the Indiana Daily Student and Chris Korman of the Herald-Times confirmed that the Hargrave Military Academy product would not be present for either summer school session.

Since that time, numerous attempts to reach Creek have been unsuccessful and we’ve been left with Facebook, yes, Facebook, as our primary source for information. (We also sprinkled in an update from Tom Crean.) In an update earlier this evening, Creek revealed via Facebook that he’s headed to Bloomington this week:

So why, you ask, is this significant? By no means should this be interpreted as confirmation that Creek has been cleared by the NCAA to play this fall. It’s certainly encouraging that he’ll be on campus, but as we’ve seen in the past, getting the green light from the clearinghouse overlords can take time.

If Creek does indeed qualify, his impact on next season’s team could be greater than any of the other freshman. He’s the most polished incoming offensive player and has the work ethic on defense that the staff will demand to earn playing time. Missing the summer sessions could set him back a bit in getting acclimated academically, but he shouldn’t miss a beat on the floor. He’s been playing pickup with Kevin Durant in Baltimore.

For now, we’ll heed to Crean’s advice and wait with cautious optimism for Creek’s eligibility status to all shake out.

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