Archive for April, 2015

Day 1-The "Calm" Before the Storm

April 3rd, 2015

its been cloudy and cool here in Indy today, but it hasn't stopped thousands of fans from attending the Fan Fest and watching team practices at Lucas Oil Stadium. It never fails to amaze me how many folks will come out to watch the teams " practice", My guess is that there were at least 15 to 20,000 thousand. Maybe because its free.

This afternoon I attended the Reese Div 1 All-Star game which I usually avoid. But this year the West squad had two Big West players on it in Alan Williams and Cory Hawkins, each of whom played very well. Its fun to watch Seniors play the game.

I talked to several coaches today, and not surprisingly, some wanted to talk about things at UH, including the coaching search . Just a lot of interest.  In fact I was fortunate to talk to Coach K and his wife Micki who I have known since I first hosted Duke in the late 80's. ( sorry he did not express interest in the job).

Speaking of Duke, I saw a great t-shirt on a Kentucky fan. It said " I still hate Laettner, a reference to the greatest play in NCAA Tournament history ( my opinion). Folks here talking about a Kentucky-Duke rematch, but I wouldn't count out either Wisconsin or Michigan State.

There is something different about this Final Four. Riley is not here. He has been a fixture along with Larry Little and others for years. Larry , as many of you know, passed away several weeks ago, and Riley is recovering from his stroke. I spoke to him on the phone and he sounds strong and optimistic that he will be back next year.

One person who is here is incoming AD Dave Matlin. He arrived very early this morning and I would guess he is attempting to sift thru the coaching applications and set up interviews with coaches who may be here. As always, there is a lot of basketball business that goes on off the court, and this year UH is in the mix. I haven't seen Benji, but I believe he is here as well

Tomorrow is in my view the greatest day in Sports. Better than the Super Bowl and even Monday's Championship game. In fact many of the coaches leave on Sunday. Four teams and all their fans will rock the Stadium. I have been to prior Final Fours in Indy and once before in the new Stadium. I don't think there is a better place for this event ( ok, New Orleans is in the mix).

Next blog tomorrow, hopefully after a Duke win ( I know, I am supposed to be impartial, but it is my blog)


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Onto Indy

April 2nd, 2015

I will be leaving later today to travel to Indy to cover the Final Four for the paper in my blog. Should be a great tournament.

Three number "1's", a Tom Izzo Michigan State team, and a Kentucky on the brink of history , makes this one of the most anticipated Final Fours in years. Not to mention my Dukies.

I have had the pleasure of attending several Final Fours in Indianapolis. Its a great sports town, although some controversy has crept in this past week as a result of some ill-advised, and certainly, ill-timed, legislation. Hope it doesn't distract from the games, although on a personal level, I hope the Indiana legislature comes to their senses.

This is also a significant Final Four for another reason, closer to home. I expect incoming athletic director Dave Matlin to narrow  down and interview the " final" candidates for the head coaching job. I understand more than 60 applications have been received with another day to go before the deadline passes. Dave has a major decision ahead of him ( he will make a recommendation to the Chancellor, who will make the final call.)  I further understand their are several strong applicants, including Benji, as well as some head coaches and folks with prior UH coaching experience.

As I have said many times, this job is really good one. We should be able to compete with all of the teams in our league, both on and off the court. Yes, we are facing the ongoing NCAA issues, but I don't expect the sanctions against UH to seriously erode our chances of getting the right coach. I hope the decision is made by the end of next week, but who knows.

So starting tomorrow thru Tuesday, look for the Hoopstalk blog to report on the comings and goings at the Final Four. And if I get any reportable information on the coaching search, you know where to find it.

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