Whose moment will it be?

After a long day of waiting and avoiding the rain, the Butler Bulldogs and Duke Blue Devils will play for the national championship of college basketball tonight.

I’m here at Lucas Oil Stadium, where you can see ominous clouds out of the windows behind the end zones. Fans are filtering in. Students waited outside much of the day and last night; apparently their seats are first-come, first sit.

The amount of analysis and prediction out there for you to consume is somewhat absurd. I will not add much to it. Here are my thoughts:

  • Watch for sophomore Ronald Nored to guard Jon Scheyer instead of Nolan Smith. I think the Butler coaching staff believes it can better disrupt Duke’s offense by shutting down the senior from Illinois. Gordon Hayward is the natural choice to try to defend Kyle Singler, but Butler can’t afford him getting in early foul trouble. It’s an obvious insight, but how Butler manages its defensive match-ups will determine the outcome of this game.
  • Edgewood grad Garrett Butcher told me yesterday that he’s ready to play, if needed. Duke isn’t especially physical, but it does have a couple of big bodies in Brian Zoubek and the Plumlee brothers. It’s not inconceivable that Butcher, who hasn’t played in the tournament, might have to come up off the bench. Especially if Matt Howard, who’s going to play after suffering a slight concussion Saturday, struggles. “For every game, you have to think that way and get prepared like you’re going to play,” Butcher said. “Even more so now, you’ve gotta prepare mentally knowing you might get your shot. Once it’s game time I’m going to be a little more focused knowing my number could get called a little earlier than before.”
  • I’m a bit surprised at how convinced some people are that Duke will win, and easily. The Blue Devils are a seven-point favorite the last time I looked; North Carolina was favored by more over Michigan State last year. This is far from a great Duke team; I wondered Saturday how many of these players would start — or see significant time — for the Duke teams I grew up watching make it this far. In a series, yeah, Duke has a major advantage. This is one game between two teams that have been streaky shooting from the floor. It’s wide open, I think.

A quick run-through of some IU notes for you:

  • I’m hearing that assistant Bennie Seltzer was one of the final three people in consideration for the opening at the University of Central Florida. That job eventually went to Donnie Jones, formerly of Marshall. Interest in Seltzer is proof that people in the business have faith in the staff at IU now. Seltzer may be in the mix for other head jobs, from what I’m hearing.
  • Because there’s been so much movement at smaller schools this year — and because Tom Crean is recruiting furiously for the next three classes — Indiana’s search for a third assistant has taken longer than expected. Crean no doubt met with people in Indy this weekend. There are former IU guys interested, but I’m not exactly sure what Crean’s looking for from the spot  — other than loyalty. I continue to think whoever gets the job will have a previous relationship with Crean or somebody Crean knows very well.
  • Former Indiana assistant Roshown McLeod is in town trying to secure his next gig. He was seen downtown spending time with Verdell Jones and family.
  • Finally, it appears that Crean won some sort of cooking contest. My good friend A.J. Mast provides the photographic proof here.

Due to somewhat shaky Internet and somewhat to a deadline that means I’ll be writing through most of the game, I’ll probably opt to tweet the game again instead of live blogging. Follow me here.

Let me leave you with this, though.

Yesterday, I wrote about how Garrett Butcher and two of his Butler teammates, Emerson Kampen and Chase Stigall, played together for a U-17 Indiana Elite AAU team back in the summer of 2007. That group was completely overshadowed by another Indiana Elite team so full of talent you couldn’t help but watch every time they played. Team Indiana featured Tyler Zeller (UNC), Emmanuel Negedu (Tennessee, but out with a heart condition), DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky), Lewis Jackson (Purdue), Matt Roth (Indiana) and Walter Offut (whose career at Ohio State never blossomed due to a couple of knee injuries.) That group was astounding.

Butcher’s group — which also had Daniel Moore and Stu Douglass — simply found ways to win, though. It always went further than people expected it would, and even reached the finals of the Adidas May Classic, where they lost to their brethren.

That group played, to simplify it, the Butler way. Coached by South assistant Kyle Simpson, who used many of J.R. Holmes’ plays, it was patient on offense and dogged on defense. Nobody looked at that group and thought they’d be much of a challenge, but they found a way to be.

As I was searching the Internet for video of that team, I ran across the following clip. Nothing summarizes that group’s identity better than this weird little video, which is inexplicably set to some cheesy song that apparently appeared ind something called Grease II:

Enjoy the game.

45 comments

  1. I remember when we were in the running for Emmanuel Negedu, and he didn’t come here. If he played to his potential at Indiana, that would have been fantastic.

  2. I think the most important thing to take from this post is that, while Paul Hewitt is an inexperienced cook, he is working hard, and performed well in all his practice sessions. He will figure it out, eventually. He was a four-star cook coming out of high school, after all.

  3. Let me be the first to say I hate Duke, right down to the dorky too-good-for-Indiana Plumberlees on their bench.

    Great, great run by Butler. Unbelievable.

  4. Korman, the title: “Whose moment will it be?”

    I want to write something I think Casey first brought up a few months ago, which is to write here the stats from Coach K’s first few years at Duke:

    1980–81 Duke 17–13 6–8 T–5th NIT Quarterfinals
    1981–82 Duke 10–17 4–10 T–6th we are here
    1982–83 Duke 11–17 3–11 7th
    1983–84 Duke 24–10 7–7 T–3rd NCAA 2nd Round
    1984–85 Duke 23–8 8–6 T–4th NCAA 2nd Round
    1985–86 Duke 37–3 12–2 1st NCAA Runner-up

    Personally I’m going to give Tom Crean until 2013 to come out of B10 above 50% (just like Coach K’s Duke above) and I am going to hold off any criticism until then. I know I went well overboard many times and I enjoyed it a bit too much, but I appreciated all the honest effort some have put to explain how my perspective wasn’t in fact right.

    I liked tonight’s game very much and I still can’t believe that Hayward’s last shot was so close!

  5. Now everything should be aligned:

    1980–81 Duke 17–13 6–8 T–5th NIT Quarterfinals
    1981–82 Duke 10–17 4–10 T–6th we are here      
    1982–83 Duke 11–17 3–11 7th                  
    1983–84 Duke 24–10 7–7 T–3rd NCAA 2nd Round   
    1984–85 Duke 23–8 8–6 T–4th NCAA 2nd Round   
    1985–86 Duke 37–3 12–2 1st NCAA Runner-up   

  6. 1980–81   Duke    17–13    6– 8   T–5th   NIT Quarterfinals
    1981–82   Duke    10–17    4–10   T–6th   we are here      
    1982–83   Duke    11–17    3–11   7th                  
    1983–84   Duke    24–10    7– 7   T–3rd   NCAA 2nd Round   
    1984–85   Duke    23– 8    8– 6   T–4th   NCAA 2nd Round   
    1985–86   Duke    37– 3   12– 2   1st     NCAA Runner-up   

  7. L’accent:

    You are sounding so mature and urbane there^^^, that I almost mistook you for Korman.

    I hope it’s sincere (but I doubt it).

  8. The one thing you always know you will get from a Coach K team is consistency. No matter what difficulty they have with an opponent in a close game they can consistently count on the officiating to give them a helping hand. The 3rd foul on Howard was a 180 degrees off(it was on Zoubek), a charging foul was proved wrong on replay and Zoubek laid Howard out with his left forearm during a rebounding sequence at about 15 seconds before the end of the game(a typical no call on Duke). But I will add the Bulldogs had opportunities, missed many shots around and under the basket and left to many points uncollected at the foul line. Still makes no difference who Duke plays any 50-50- call goes their way.

  9. It is sincere, what the heck — about time for me to act more like a grown up than a brat… I’m holding off until this time 2013 no matter what.

  10. L’accent:

    It’s the right thing to do, and the only rational thing to do.

    It’s not like we are dealing with someone like Dan Dakich or Bill Lynch, who have never succeeded at a D1 level.

    But when you get a coach with a proven track record and a great reputation around the country, you simply owe him and the program at least a few years of solid support- at least until his best recruiting class are upper-classmen.

    If you do otherwise, you are succumbing to the Fast Food, Me-First, I want it NOW!! attitude that has plagued our country of late.

  11. Peeping Tom has low expectations as to what he considers succeeding. I guess that is because he is really a Washington fan. Proven track record? 1 tournament win in entire career outside of 1 D Wade Year?
    I think l’accent was being sarcastic when he says he is holding off until 2013 no matter what. That is what all the Crean Apologists say.

  12. I would like to just take this time and honor 4guards. He has recently found this website called rivals. He has also found their message board. Someone asked a question about Perea and Jurkin, and he responds by ripping Crean and giving no opinion on the question.

    Moral of the story: 4guards is like a plague. It will spread until there is a cure.

  13. I actually did respond to the ? by saying I would rather have DSR, Hammons, and Patterson.
    I only have 2 posts on that site and don’t intend on posting too much. It is not ran as well as this one.
    Thanks for noticing though Jubilee. I also post on Hutch’s blog as well if you wish to follow.

  14. 4tards:

    L’accent showed by posting coach K’s stats that he was serious. Coach K had a couple of pretty bad seasons there in the early-going. Only a reasonable person could understand his point.

    4tards, please don’t reproduce, if you haven’t already. I’d hate to see what you would do to your children when you realize that they can’t meet your “expectations.”

  15. 4guards, I saw one of your posts on Hutchen’s blog. He actually responded to you, which he seldom does. Oh, I almost forgot he was not complimentary.

  16. Hammons is 2012, will be playing with future coach who actually runs an offense.
    Hutch responds to my posts more often than most. We cordially disagree on some points.

  17. 4tards:

    I hope she is Venus Williams by the time she is 8 years old, or she’ll’ fired her and you’ll be seeing if Alford has a daughter you can borrow.

  18. Sorry, 4guards, I really will stay quiet from now on. Best of the best to your little girl. On this blog at times we go at each other’s neck so fiercely but there is nothing (or there should not be anything) personal in it even if we sound dangerously personal sometimes in what we post. Like lawyers in a court of law arguing various positions for the sake of finding the truth we can be pretty irritating at times, can’t we.

    Benjamin Franklin in his time used to publish under more than one pen name. Frequently he would post one week one article arguing one point of view, then a week later, using a different pseudonym, submit a second article attacking the first one (see “Fart Proudly” p. 103 — a rather unorthodox collection of Franklin’s writings). It is what sometimes happens here but I would hope that in the “brawl” that ensues all that is said is purely theoretical and we leave ourselves and our families entirely out of this.

    Honestly, let me congratulate you 4guards for almost never insulting anybody, at least not without being provoked or being insulted first. Also, for calling Alford’s best year yet well ahead of everybody else. I’ll be watching Tom Crean for the next three years quietly since I truly want to understand the man.

  19. L’accent: you clearly identified yourself in that post^^^. I have to say, I am disappointed on some level, to know that it was you all along. I had convinced myself that it was some evil whacko, in spite of all the evidence that it was an “inside job.” Turns out my initial hunch was the correct hunch.

    Nevertheless, I give you credit for being the bigger person and manning up to your behavior.

    It was also the right thing to do to seek a divorce from 4guards, although your almost congratulatory tone takes away some of the impressiveness of the act. It read like someone congratulating a disturbed religious zealot shouting on the corner for his role in fomenting free speech.

  20. ^ I am not 4guards, for crying out loud. I only wanted to say that I posted under more than one name and not all my posts argued the exact same point of view although for the most part I was on 4guards side. But I’m not 4guards!

    However the Ben Franklin technique is something that I felt you’ve used in the past, as has Downing (I think, I don’t know for sure, but it looked that way). I never assumed any identity for the long term and that’s why you can’t locate me in any way. A long time ago I posted (as an example) as Tambourine Man on the Basketblog. Later (for about two years) I interspersed thoughts signed with short term identities (or titles) in the dialogues between you and Downing. I’d strengthen (the best I could) whoever’s argument looked more promising. But Downing started accusing me of being a narcissistic you, and you were accusing me of being him. I tried to explain a couple of times but eventually I gave up and just let it be. Recently Downing started hating me because he thought I was Millport (which I never was, nor was I ever Calcoug) and we got into that spat on Hoosier Hype when I posted the top ten lists.

    You’ve been trying to find an identity for me ever since but since none existed before the best you can do is invent one or stick to whatever comes close to an identity now (e.g., l’accent).

    In any event this is over. I hope this clarifies it.

  21. I never, ever have thought you were 4guards. Are you kidding? Do you thing 4guards could write an entire coherent, insightful paragraph?

    I have, however, always known on some level that you are a sportswriter named Chris. Your ability to suddenly shift from the juvenile to the demure mode, from brat to gentleman, is ultimately what gives you away. Your expertise in keyboard art, your late night posts after carousing at the bar, your stunning ability to find great pictures, your occassional slippage into

  22. …frat dialects (dude), your non-attachment to Hoosier sports except in an odd, analytical, partisan way…

    It all adds up to me.

    But this isn’t about the trial anymore. I am more than happy just to talk to you as one adult to another rather than engaging in a back and forth battle of wits, which I almost always lose anyway.

  23. I’ve always known you were Remora the Voyeur..I gave you the damn name. Husky is the guy into conspiracy theories. Tom used to think the Keebler Elves were secretly diluting the chocolate in Fudge Stick Cookies and funneling the extra pure cocoa to the Swiss Miss girl in exchange for pleasure visits from her five ponytailed sisters at the tree house. And he was correct.

  24. I am not a voyeur. Was it voyeurism to sign “Tambourine Man” month after month? But you decided I must be Tom. And when he’d congratulate me on a post well-written later, under some other pseudonym, you’d call him a narcissist.

    Downing, periodically you’re very mean. I accept that. There were several times when (on the Basketblog) Tom would think I am you and would jump on you thinking you’re someone else. The reason is that periodically you just can’t help it and you’re mean. But it usually doesn’t last long, and I wish you well. Take it easy now, it’s all in the past.

  25. Don’t leave, Re..Re…Re..Re..Re…Re..Remora. Makes me sa…sa..sa…sa…sa…sa…saaaaad you go with such a dow…dow…dow…dow…downtrodden view of Dow….Dow…Dow…Downing. 😥
    Three’s company!

  26. Almost forgot…Just for the record in case I never post again. I’m Grace..Tom is Thelma Ritter.

  27. Guess that makes Engel the guy tending to the flowers. Is that Basketblog the little mutt is trying to dig up? Where’s Eline? :mrgreen:

    Basketball Shipwrecked Days

    In the summer long at quiet sea with no Hoosier round ball,
    without our hardwood fix, go into severe cabin withdrawal,
    we shiver and we sweat, like Sampson waiting for his stormy call,
    irritation peaks, demons stare, from the close quarters piercing wall.

    We say things we don’t mean, waves of ego play a fast break game,
    the tambourine bashes against the hull, Dylan’s voice shrieks on turntable brain,
    we take some hurried shots, throw ugly pirate bricks of shame,
    if I don’t hear Captain Don Fischer’s voice, I’ll surely go insane.

    Please forgive my childish words and hostile playpen ways,
    I long for Big Red land and screams for Indiana jersey J’s,
    Student Sections guiding light I honest give thee praise,
    your truth be saving beacon, in our basketball shipwrecked days.

  28. I always thought Downing was the Remora. You were good, EnlelElineKorman, you were good.

    You fazed me, you fazed me.

  29. I would never desire, nor have the talent, to ever pretend to be Husky Tom. I would never have enough contempt(ketchup?)in my veins to play such a game of deception at your expense. You certainly have quite the way of making a person feel good.

    And you both never fail to surprise Downing…Such a higher mountain you and Remora must stand to trivialize my writing and the thoughts unique to my own inspirations; place upon yourselves the decisive power to take the words from my heart and give them as gifts to each other. I tend to think that goes far beyond “mean”. And how extremely impressive the demonstrations of massive wits to transform and twist juvenile jealousy into the fraudulent perplexity of impossible to disguise, highly evolved, games of tiddlywink arrogance. I best stop….I might just be mistaken for Downing.

  30. Have you ever heard of the gulper fish? I hadn’t either, until I read an article this morning about a rather intrepid shark being tracked by scientists who decided that he was going to dive down 4,000 feet into an oceanic abyss.

    Sharks are normally coastal predators, says the article; however, this cheeky guy decided he wanted to explore the dark depths and recesses for squid and other rarefied treats. One of these treats is the gulper. I guess it’s technically an eel.

    Anyways, this shark character defied previous hypotheses about the Great White’s ability to dive deep and handle pressure. Apparently they can go a lot farther down then we ever could imagine.

  31. …and you have the nerve to complain about an Indiana legend Steve Alford being off topic?

  32. I’m sorry 4tards, if you don’t like sharks.

    I know that you must be reeling still from your breakup with L’accent. YOu guys had such a good thing going…

    It’s ok if you want to treat me as a punching bag for a little while. I understand.

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