Happenings in HoosierLand

According to a report coming from a Purdue site, the Hoosiers and Boilermakers will play each other in men’s basketball only once next year.

This makes about as much sense as having Ohio State rotate off Michigan’s schedule in football. Which the Big Ten had the foresight to ensure would never happen.

Now that the conference has decided on an 18-game league schedule for hoops, each team will play two other teams just once. But failing to capitalize on an in-state rivalry that is about to explode because of the infusion of in-state talent on both teams is ludicrous. Indiana and Purdue fans are excited about their respective recruiting classes and have been bragging and baiting each other on message boards for months and months. What will they do to release the tension if their teams only get to, you know, actually play a freakin’ game of basketball once this season?

But this, after all, is the Big Ten we are talking about. As I type, Doug is huddled over in his expansive cubicle — oh, to be the sports editor — muttering in low tones to himself. I should explain that this is actually normal behavior when he’s trying to write. But today I’m worried about him. See, he’s been trying to sort out this Big Ten Network v. Comcast fiasco. His sources are telling him that eventually a deal will be in place so that Comcast customers — which current Insight subscribers in Bloomington will soon become — can get the network. But for now both sides are talking the big talk. Think back to the playground in 2nd grade when the two bullies shouted back and forth loudly and angrily before little Mrs. (insert your teacher’s name here) grabbed them both by the ear and they cried like the little wimps they actually were. OK, maybe I went overboard there but I’m trying to get Big Ten commission Jim Delaney to put out a press release demanding an apology from me.

Back to the TV stuff. Indiana’s season opener against Indiana State will be shown only on the Big Ten Network. Same with the Akron game two weeks later, and the game at Michigan State on Oct. 13. (Coincidentally, the Hoosiers’ game at Western Michigan on Sept. 8 will be shown on ESPNU.) Insight isn’t saying much about its negotiations with the Big Ten, and Comcast will take over in Bloomington starting in 2008.

So that Eshaunte Jones news kind of flew in out of nowhere. The Fort Wayne North Side graduate has backed off his commitment to the Hoosiers and will look at other schools.

Doug, who is our basketball columnist, does not see this is a big loss for the Hoosiers. Jones was a very small part of the recent Indiana All-Stars team and really appears to need work on everything except outside shooting. With Devin Ebanks — a top 10 player in his class — and Bud Mackey — who is better than most people realize — already committed, Indiana shouldn’t have a problem filling out the class. Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson seems to be a guy who’d prefer to carefully craft a class rather than sign the five or six best guys. He desperately needs size and inside presence in the 2008 class — since Ebanks plays so much on the wing — and probably wouldn’t mind grabbing another guard, particularly a true point guard prospect if he’s out there. Mackey has been mentioned as the guy to fill that role but I don’t think that will be the case. This upcoming year I think you’ll see Armon Bassett and Eric Gordon share the point guard position. At times you won’t even be able to tell who’s actually running it. I think Mackey is best used slipping into Gordon’s spot if E.J. leaves early for the NBA.

Doug spoke with Indiana football coach Bill Lynch today, and he may be along to offer his thoughts of that interview. If not, you can read his story in Sunday’s paper. Enjoy the weekend.

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