Your brackets, please, ladies and gentlemen

Note: The original group is full, so we opened up another group for those who missed the first group.

It’s that time of the year again: March Madness. Although our Hoosiers are nowhere to be found, the show must go on.

Just like last season, we’ve opened the Inside the Hall Pick ‘Em Challenge on Yahoo!. One improvement over last year is that we’ve actually got some prizes for the top three brackets in our group from our friends at T.I.S. Bookstore.

  • 1st place: $35 gift certificate to T.I.S.
  • 2nd place: $15 gift certificate to T.I.S.
  • 3rd place: Crean and Crimson T-Shirt

There’s a limit of one bracket per person, so make your choices wisely. And most importantly: Have fun out there and good luck.

When There’s Nothing On The Horizon You’ve Got Nothing Left To Prove: Saying farewell to the 2008-09 Indiana Hoosiers

Some rambling postseason thoughts on a Monday morning …

So, we’re a few days removed from Indiana’s season-ending first round loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. Ho, hum. We all knew the Hoosiers were probably going to lose. Whatever hopes we had of an upset were minimal and fleeting. And so the season ends, and on we go, set for another offseason that will be far less angry, anxious, and uncertain than last season’s.

Comparing the two situations is almost funny. This time last year, we had just been destroyed by Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Sure, Arkansas was a good team, and it was a tough draw, talent-wise, but by that point it almost didn’t matter. A once-promising season with a lineup stocked full of players was derailed entirely when Kelvin Sampson was fired for being a naughty boy. The team lost most of the rest of its games, limped into the NCAAs, and were promptly spanked. But it wasn’t the loss that was disconcerting. It’s what came before it, and what was still ahead.

Cue the offseason: a series of ugly incidents and confusing decisions punctuated by a brief moment of optimism. That moment was Tom Crean’s hire. It’s the hire IU should have made two years ago, when they instead chose a coach under investigation for having the cell phone tendencies of a 13-year-old meth addict. Crean was a steadier, calmer, more reasonable choice with just as good of a coaching record and a history of recruiting well in Indiana and Chicago. Why he wasn’t originally chosen to succeed Mike Davis is a mystery that still confounds to this day. (Then-IU president Adam Herbert’s insistence on a minority hire is likely the answer, but oh well. Spilled milk, and all that.)


The Palestra wraps up the IU season

… And we’ll be back Monday to begin breaking down the season that was in Bloomington as well as the NCAA Tournament.

That’s a wrap: Hoosiers fall in opening round of Big Ten Tournament

Predictably, there will be no March Madness for Tom Crean and the Indiana Hoosiers.

Indiana (6-25) concluded the 2008-2009 campaign with a 66-51 loss to Penn State in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The loss was the 10th straight for Indiana.

The result was never really in doubt as the Nittany Lions (22-10) opened the game with a 26-8 run and IU was never able to draw closer than nine the rest of the way.

“They’re a good team, ” Crean said. “Very well coached, as is the rest of this league. And I hope they get in the NCAA.”

Verdell Jones continued his late season breakout and was the only IU player in double figures with 23 points. Jones shot 7 of 11 from the field and hit 5 of 5 free throws.

“This season is definitely a learning experience,” Jones said. “But I think the most we got out of this season is if you work hard and listen to what the coaches say you can improve by leaps and bounds.”

Kyle Taber, Nick Williams and Daniel Moore added five points each. Taber, a former walk-on who played for four coaches at IU, reflected on his career after the loss.

“I’m sad to see it end, ” Taber said. “I mean, it was so much fun playing here at Indiana, and I was just glad to be a part of it for five years.”

Penn State advances to a quarterfinal game on Friday night at 9PM ET against Purdue. Jamelle Cornley led three Nittany Lion players in double figures with 22 points. Stanley Pringle added 16 points and David Jackson had 10.

Talor Battle, the Big Ten’s leading scorer with 17.3 points per game, was held to three points on just three shot attempts, but dished out six assists and had four steals.

Big Ten Tournament not so kind to Hoosiers: The loss against Penn State drops IU to 8-12 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament. IU is now 13-6 in games played at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Dumes misses finale: Junior guard Devan Dumes did not dress and missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. Dumes finished the season as IU’s leading scorer at 12.7 ppg.

Live blog: Indiana vs Penn State

Is this the end of the road?

Indiana takes on Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament in a few hours. IU is the 11 seed, while Penn State is seeded sixth. The Nittany Lions are favored by nine.

Terry Hutchens of the Indy Star has IU in the upset, citing the fact that the game is in Indianapolis, and the Hoosiers having no pressure on them, whereas it’s a must-win for Penn State if they want to assure an NCAA Tournament birth.

Hutchens could very well be right; IU has played Penn State pretty good this year. And for as much as I’d like to see the Hoosiers win — though, the more Big Ten teams in, the merrier — and have a shot at Purdue in the next round, it’s OK if they don’t. I won’t feel that much disappointment.

Because the chapter on the worst season record-wise in IU’s history will be closed. For good. Forever. No longer will we have to rely on a bunch of guys working their tails of for little reward, we’ll have a bunch of guys with more talent working their tails off for wins and perhaps more. We’ll no longer have to lament this season, because the next time the Hoosiers take the floor, it will actually be here.

I will root for the Hoosiers today. I hope they win. If they don’t? Then let the countdown to Hoosier Hysteria begin.

Somebody finally told ESPN about Michael Santa

Even though he first appeared in a game two weeks ago, I guess the memo finally crossed the right person’s desk at the World Wide Leader. The powers that be on ESPN’s “First Take” decided the time was right to do an interview on everybody’s favorite player-turned-manager, Michael Santa. Let’s go to the tape:

I’ve gotta be honest: The best thing about this clip doesn’t involve Michael Santa. It involves Tijan Jobe. Reliving the Jobe fadeaway in this clip is one thing every IU fan must do. Seriously. Just watch it. You’ll thank me later.

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