The Herald Bulletin

March 16, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Where did our teams go?


— What happened to basketball in this state this weekend?

A great quote from former New York Mets’ manager Casey Stengel comes to mind, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

Seriously. In 49 states, it’s just basketball, but what is it here?

In the space of 24 hours the following basketball teams that call this state home lost high profile basketball games.

The Indiana Hoosiers were defeated one more time by the Wisconsin Badgers, who only need to catch the team bus to win against our team from Bloomington.

Indiana looked nothing like a No. 1 seed for the upcoming NCAA tournament, and I am certain if everyone involved in that decision had only seen Saturday’s game, then the Hoosiers would be a No. 2 or No. 3 seed. The team’s biggest problems were these: Jordan Hulls continued to need a larger rim or a smaller basketball to be able to make shots, plus the Hoosiers thought Cody Zeller was just a really tall shooting guard.

Most of the time in Indiana’s offense, Zeller was on the perimeter. He caught the pass there and could do little else because the Wisconsin defenders didn’t really anticipate that the 7-footer was a scoring threat from there. I think Indiana got the ball to him in the post twice during the course of the contest.

So now IU will await its fate from the NCAA selection committee.

I didn’t have an opportunity to watch the Butler game as it was being played at roughly the same time as the Indiana contest. But fellow staffer George Bremer did. He said, “They need a point guard. They turn the ball over like it is their job.”

Not exactly a resounding endorsement. At least the Bulldogs were playing a team in Saint Louis that Butler coach Brad Stevens once said was a Final Four team. It is hard now to imagine that Butler will get to remain close to home when today’s bracket is revealed.

Then there’s Notre Dame. The Irish lost on TV in a game that ended Friday night well past my bedtime. So there will be no Big East title nor additional ridicule from me for them.

Next is the Indiana Pacers. As I write this, the Pacers were yet to tipoff against the Philadelphia 76ers. By the time you read this, that result will be in the books.

But right now there is little reason to speak with pride about their showing at home Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were barely clinging to that eighth and final playoff spot with Kobe Bryant in the lineup. On Friday he only played one quarter, and still the Pacers were unable to come away with a win.

That’s certainly a low point for Indiana this season.

The state was far from a shining example of our Hoosier state basketball heritage. Maybe it should matter less whether we play in a single class or four classes and more about whether we play first-class basketball in this state.