@kwellscomm @PraiseIndy PraiseIndy.com Sports —
It’s basketball madness for local colleges and the pros on this St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Indiana University is turning the page in their men’s basketball program leaving coach Tom Crean in the last chapter. IU fired Crean on Thursday after nine seasons in Bloomington. They made this move on the same day that three other Indiana schools were in the headlines for their round one NCAA tournament play–tourney play where IU was glaringly absent, after the Hoosiers lost to Georgia Tech in the opening round of the NIT on Tuesday. Crean finishes his tenure 166-and-135, including 71-and-91 in Big Ten play. He led Indiana to the Sweet 16 three times.
After the Hoosiers fired Crean, the first name that emerged was one belonging to one of IU’s legends, Steve Alford. Alford so far isn’t saying whether he’s interested, or in talks, to take over as the Hoosier’s new coach. He sidestepped questions on Thursday about who will take over at IU now that Crean is out. Alford lead IU to a National Championship in 1987 as a player under legendary coach Bob Knight. He’s currently coaching a UCLA team that earned a three-seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Speaking of the tourney…
Thursday was a great day for the three Indiana colleges who are in. If you had them inked-in on your bracket, you’re still good.
The fourth-seeded Butler Bulldogs are moving on to round two. With his 18 points, Avery Woodson led Butler to a 76-64 win over Winthrop in South Region action in Milwaukee. Kelan Martin added 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the ‘Dawgs’, who will now meet 12th-seeded Middle Tennessee in second round action on Saturday.
Fifth-seeded Notre Dame held on to beat 12-seeded Princeton 60-58 in a West Region battle in Buffalo, New York Thursday afternoon. Bonzie Colson led all scorers with 18 points in this squeaker victory. Yes the Fighting Irish squeaked by in this one when Tigers guard Devin Cannady missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds. Matt Ferrell added another 16 points for Notre Dame, who will play fourth-seeded West Virginia on Saturday.
Purdue lit up the night and is now celebrating its first NCAA Tournament win in five years. (They were the only night game of the three Indiana schools.) The Boilermakers, Vince Evans scored 21 points as they took on Vermont beating them solidly 80-70 in the Midwest Region. Purdue, like Butler, also took the court in Milwaukee. Another noted player, Caleb Swanigan, was a factor in this victory when he added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the ‘Boiler’s.’ They next take on Iowa State on Saturday.
In addition to all of the downtown fun on this rainy St. Patrick’s Day, adding to the crowd will be college hoops fans heading to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It is the site of four NCAA Tournament games today. Michigan takes on Oklahoma State at 12:15 p.m. Louisville tips off against Jacksonville State immediately after. Tonight, Dayton meets Wichita State at 7:10 p.m. and finally Kentucky and Northern Kentucky will close out the evening with the late game that gets underway immediately following. That’s some hoops action!
In the pro’s…
The Indiana Pacers hit the road, flying north of the boarder, to take on the Raptors in Toronto. They’re in action on Sunday. The Pacers were victorious in their last game when they handily beat the Hornets at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Wednesday night. That final was 98-77. The Pacers claim the sixth spot in the East right now, sitting at 35-and-33 on the season.
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