I would really like Tom Crean to succeed as the Indiana University men’s basketball coach.

I found good reason to want it to be him who brings the Hoosiers back to national prominence when he visited Hoosier Park and I heard him speak and got to meet him.

I found good reason to think it might happen by watching IU win a big game Tuesday night against Pittsburgh in the Jimmy V Classic in Madison Square Garden.

Though still predominantly freshmen, Indiana stood up well under the big-stage pressure, playing with enthusiasm and intelligence. Certainly the Panthers’ cold shooting played a role in Indiana’s victory, and a rematch might not produce the same result.

But what likely would be the same would be the Hoosiers’ blossoming talent. Verdell Jones was especially impressive, and he will be worth watching.

It should take Crean just a couple of successful seasons to get IU back into the consciousness of high school basketball players in the Midwest and beyond.

I would like to see Purdue, Indiana, Notre Dame, Ball State, Butler, Evansville, Anderson and many others all do well. I still believe that basketball is king in this state, and what better way to spread that word nationally than by having a lot of successful college programs?

The Purdue fans who are really basketball fans have to admit that winters in this state were a lot more fun when both the Boilermakers and the Hoosiers were among the nation’s best. That hasn’t been the case the past couple of years, and the excitement hasn’t been as high either.

I would love to see a time when the entire nation looks forward to the Indiana vs. Purdue matchups.

Indiana next will take on Kentucky on Saturday. Can the Hoosiers put a pair of big games together?

Hoosier Park recently was approved to get 80 days of standardbred racing and 63 days of thoroughbreds.

Harness racing begins March 25 and will run through July 11. Live racing will be held Wednesday through Sunday. On Sunday the first post will be 1 p.m. The rest of the week the first post will be 5:30 p.m.

The standardbred highlights include the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational on June 26 and the $500,000 Hoosier Cup on May 29.

Thoroughbred racing also will be contested Wednesday through Sunday beginning on July 30. Saturday and Sunday the racing will begin at 1 p.m.

The other days it will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The $500,000-added Grade II Indiana Derby will be the highlight of the thoroughbred season. Falling into its customary first weekend in October slot, the Indiana Derby is slated for Saturday, Oct. 2. I am waiting for those dates anxiously.

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