Inside the Hall Pick’em Challenge is back

The Inside the Hall Pick’em Challenge is back. Just like last year, we’ve set up a group over at Yahoo! where you’ll be able to compete against other ITH’ers for bragging rights.

In addition to the $1 million available from Yahoo! for a perfect bracket and the $10,000 for the top overall bracket, we’ll be giving some prizes out as well. (Still finalizing the details, but an announcement is forthcoming.)

Just like last year, the group is public, so let friends and family know about it. The more, the merrier. Have fun out there, kids.

Crean: Dumes out for Wisconsin game

Indiana head coach Tom Crean announced on Saturday that Devan Dumes will miss Sunday night’s game at Wisconsin with a knee injury.

Dumes was injured with 16:49 remaining in the first half of Indiana’s 64-59 loss to Michigan State on Tuesday and did not return.

Dumes’ status unknown, so sayeth Tom Crean

Tom Crean, Verdell Jones and the defensive stopper known as Brett Finkelmeier met with the media earlier today to talk about Sunday’s game at Wisconsin. Nothing groundbreaking was revealed, but Crean did give an update on Devan Dumes:

“He has not practiced. It’s hard to measure today in such a short period of time. He has been shooting and things like that but he has not practiced so I don’t know (his status for Sunday).”

This is not a knock on Dumes, as he is IU’s best scorer, but I think the Hoosiers showed on Tuesday they can compete just fine without him. In other words, it’s not such a big deal if he can’t play Sunday. IU is in for a huge challenge as Wisconsin is fighting for a NCAA bid (a win Sunday probably punches their ticket) and the Kohl Center is one of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.

A full transcript of Finkelmeier’s comments will be posted later. (Not really. I just felt like typing that.)

Pay to play? I don’t think so

First, a preface: I’m no fan of the current rules that prevent athletes, specifically in college basketball and college football, from entering the professional league of their choice at the conclusion of high school.

It’s probably a good rule in college football because only a handful (if that) of players would even be able to make the jump. But in the case of the NBA, it’s a terrible rule unless your name is Korleone Young.

But the column from Bob Kravitz in this morning’s Indianapolis Star suggesting college athletes should be able to choose between a scholarship and $25,000/year was a bit off the wall for my liking. Let’s go to the text:

When athletes arrive at a Division I school, give them a choice: They can get a full-ride scholarship, with all the perks that involves, or offer them a salary of, say, $25,000 per year to work on their NBA, NFL or NHL degree.

That is, let them compete for the school, use the college as a paid minor league and do so as true mercenaries, with no requirement they go to class.

Why is it so bloody important that we maintain this student-athlete hypocrisy when it’s clear that some athletes have absolutely no interest in, or aptitude for, a college education?

Again, the proposal: A Division I athlete, man or woman, revenue-producing sport or non-revenue-producing sport, gets the option: a scholarship or a paycheck with no academic strings attached.

The problem with this whole argument is that Indiana University or any other institution, is not a paid minor league system. Nor should it be. It’s a university. Which means, in theory, it’s supposed to be a haven for learning and getting an education, no?

Sure, there are athletes all over the country that go to school without the intention of ever receiving a diploma. I’m not blind to that. But that’s no fault of the school or the athlete. It’s the fault of the system. Both the NBA and NFL refuse to create a legitimate minor league system. So by default, these kids are forced into attending college when in reality they should be able to choose their next step after high school. The ball is in the court of the NBA and NFL to step up, but it shouldn’t be on schools to start forking over paychecks.

My guess is that this will generate strong opinion one way or the other, so let’s hear it in the comments.

So, about the whole commenting thing …

As we begin to sift through the results from the reader survey, a reoccuring theme in many of your responses to why you do not post comments is well, you’re not sure how. So as a fix for this problem, we’ve crafted detailed instructions. Details are after the jump …


Seth Davis on Larry Bird and Bobby Knight

CBS and Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis has a new book out, titled “When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball.” For my work at Yahoo!, I had the chance to read an advance copy of the book and interview Davis about it the other day. Here’s a confession I’ll make: I did not know the Larry Bird-leaving-IU story. I mean, I knew it, vaguely, but I didn’t know the details of it, which is why this excerpt from the book interested me. I assume it will interest you as well:

The start of classes only intensified Bird’s feelings of isolation. Here he was, a poor, sheltered, intensely introverted teenager who had barely set foot outside his hometown of fewer than three thousand people, and he was stuck without any friends on a campus of more than thirty thousand undergraduates. He couldn’t get over the fact that he had to walk several miles just to get to class. And, as he often said half-jokingly, “I ain’t no genius in school.”

If he thought he might get some emotional support from the coaches, that notion was quickly dispelled as well. One night, while walking down the street with Jan Condra, who had also enrolled at Indiana, at Larry’s behest, and her sister, Larry looked up and saw Knight walking toward them. He stiffened and readied himself to speak to his head coach for the first time since arriving on campus. Knight walked toward Bird; Bird said hello — and Knight blew by without saying a word. “Larry didn’t say anything, but I could tell with his demeanor that his feelings were hurt,” Condra says. “Larry was used to people being a lot nicer to him. He didn’t like Coach Knight’s personality.”

Knight would later regret treating Bird so coldly. “Larry Bird is one of my great mistakes,” he said. “I was negligent in realizing what Bird needed at that time in his life.”

Bob Knight, for all his faults, was a great coach, but come on, dude. You let one of the all-time greats slip through your fingers because you couldn’t say hello to him on his walk back from class? Couldn’t give him a quick fatherly nod or something? Some sign you recognized he existed? It’s not Knight’s fault Bird was so thin-skinned, but really. Help the greatest player to ever come from Indiana (right? is there someone else that takes this title?) out a little bit.

Anyway, if you want to read the interview about all this stuff, including about how Larry Bird almost didn’t play basketball after he left Indiana, Part One of my interview with Davis is here, and Part Two is here.

Tipton erases 10-point deficit, beats Oak Hill 48-44

Indiana signee and Mr. Basketball candidate Derek Elston was on the verge of seeing his high school season end in the sectional. His Tipton Blue Devils, No. 1 in Class 2-A, were down 38-30 with six minutes remaining. Tipton responded with a 15-0 run to get past No. 7 Oak Hill, 48-44, in a first round sectional game.

Elston finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Tipton will play Eastern on Friday night.

You can read a recap of the game here from the Kokomo Tribune. There’s also a photo gallery with some nice shots of Elston.

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