The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

March 18, 2013

George Bremer: Hoosiers’ time is now

T-shirts were printed up last season after Indiana’s December upset of then top-ranked Kentucky proclaiming that the Hoosiers’ men’s basketball program was “back.”

It seemed like a burst of bravado at the time, a cathartic release after three consecutive sub-.500 seasons.

But IU made the statement stand up, knocking off two more top-five foes at Assembly Hall and finishing with a 27-9 overall record and a trip to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

Now the Hoosiers (26-5) have a chance to do something that will cause far more than the production of popular T-shirts. Indiana rightfully has a spot on college basketball’s Mount Rushmore — alongside North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky — but with that comes great expectations.

Success in those programs is measured in national championship banners and Final Four appearances. IU hasn’t hung one of the former since 1987 and hasn’t made a trip to the latter since 2002.

The current Hoosiers already have claimed their first outright Big Ten title since 1993, but the goal for a team that started the season ranked No. 1 in the nation always has been far greater.

The road to that greater glory was paved quite nicely by the NCAA tournament selection committee on Sunday.

A 3-3 finish likely cost IU the No. 1 overall seed and a potential regional appearance in Indianapolis, but the team’s path through the East Regional likely is a better overall deal.

The tournament run starts Friday in Dayton, Ohio, and would continue next week in Washington, D.C. To reach the Final Four in Atlanta next month — which should be the minimum objective for this group — the Hoosiers must navigate a field with ACC regular season and tournament champion Miami and a pair of Big East bullies in Marquette and Syracuse.

Butler, which beat IU at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in December, also is in this bracket. But the Bulldogs have a tough road to a potential Elite Eight rematch with the Hoosiers.

Butler would need to knock off upset-minded Bucknell in the opening round then likely get a second win over Marquette — following a November buzzer-beater in Maui — and an upset over the high-flying Hurricanes.

An Elite Eight battle between IU and Marquette also would be very interesting. Current Hoosiers coach Tom Crean led the Golden Eagles — and star Dwyane Wade — to their most recent Final Four appearance in 2003.

It really isn’t important who Indiana meets on the road to the Final Four, however, just that the Hoosiers arrive safely in Atlanta.

IU has a deep and talented roster, but junior first-team All-American Victor Oladipo likely will jump to the NBA next fall. And sophomore second-team All-American Cody Zeller could follow.

That lends a sense of urgency to the proceedings over the next few weeks.

If IU and its fans truly want to scream “We’re back” to the college basketball world, winning this month and early next is the surest way to do so.

Contact George Bremer: 640-4831, george.bremer@heraldbulletin.com

1
Text Only
Sports
  • PH pushes across only run in 7th FRANKTON -- After Frankton's Kyleigh Garner and Pendleton Heights' Bailey Benefiel battled one another to a standstill from the pitcher's circle for six innings, it took one mistake in the seventh to decide the outcome. Through six innings, Benefiel

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT - HB0419 - County track - 116 Arabians sweep track titles again Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the competitors at the Madison County track meet Friday at Madison-Grant. The Pendleton Heights boys and girls teams were looking to take the county for the third year in a row, but Anderson and Lapel had other ideas. It started off as a record-setting meet and finished with a bang as Pendleton was able to wrap up both titles. The girls held off a stiff challenge from Lapel to win 167.5-147, and the boys took the final event of the night to squeak out a 156.5-148.5 win over Lapel.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Arabians clip Eagles, go for Muller repeat The competitive feeling at Pendleton Height’s Bill Stoudt Field quickly faded Friday during the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Arabians once again took advantage of the opposing team’s generosity as Frankton pitchers gave up six walks and hit five batters, and Pendleton Heights took the 14-3 victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Indians scratch back into Muller final A young and inexperienced Anderson team again proved its mettle Friday in the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Indians (2-3), playing without several expected starters to open the season, clawed out a 10-6 victory against Lapel (2-2) at Memorial Field to advance to the championship game for the 10th time.

    April 18, 2014

  • Elwood rolls past Liberty Christian While most people were aware that Elwood had 22 hits, 19 runs, 11 extra base hits and four home runs, most failed to notice that pitcher Tenasha Stephens tossed a no-hitter in the process.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pendleton Heights, Frankton to meet for net title

    Pendleton Heights and Frankton advanced to today's Madison County Championship title match after posting very different victories. The Lady Arabian tennis team advanced after defeating the Alexandria Tigers 4-1. For Frankton, it came down to a No. 1 singles tie-breaker to put away Lapel.

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - HB0418 - PHHS vs Alex - 017 Arabians hold off Alex to reach semifinals Good teams don't need much help. That didn't stop Pendleton Heights from accepting a little aid from Alexandria in the second round of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament on Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Panthers claw way into softball semis If only Elwood's Jessie Noone had missed the team bus, Thursday's game in the Madison County Softball Tournament would have been more competitive.

    April 17, 2014

  • Ravens drove Manchester to avoid sweep NORTH MANCHESTER — The Anderson University baseball team defeated Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leader Manchester University 9-5 on Wednesday at Gratz Field. Andrew Eiler led the Raven offense with three hits, three runs and an RBI, including one of four home runs the visitors hit.

    April 17, 2014

  • Elwood, Liberty Christian advance in county softball tournament The 2014 Madison County Softball tournament got off to a wild start at Liberty Christian on Wednesday night as Elwood and the host Liberty Christian Lions advanced with victories.

    April 17, 2014