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Finally, Some Respect!!!

January 31, 2007

With all apologies to Will Shannon, who lived next to and around me for three years in the mid- to late-nineties and who thusly knows of my love and passion for Indiana Basketball.

Also, all apologies to A.J. Ratliff, whom I have dogged in the past. You've earned your striped pants tonight, sir. I tip my cap to you.

And, no apologies to the talking morons on the radio and television who said that Wisconsin's only true tests this year will be at Michigan St. and at Ohio St. later in February, everyone of you should call up Kelvin Sampson and say, "Hey, maybe you CAN coach at a place like Indiana." Because, you know, he can't call you.

I'm especially pointing out local buffoon Chris Clark on this one, who, yesterday said, "Wisconsin...they're not going to lose to Indiana." This is one of those times when I want to break my ban against calling in to radio talk shows. I want to gloat, because this guy is one of your typical, swollen head, egomaniacal ass clowns who think they're cool and tough and edgy, like Jim Rome or Keith Olberman. The problem is, with these ass monkeys, no one can take them to task for the idiocy they spew on the radio. My favorite (allow me to digress a moment) was earlier this year, when the editor of the ACC Sports Journal was on every radio show that would give him a moment talking about how all the national media guys have no idea what they're talking about, how they've got the ACC all wrong, and how they've totally misjudged NC State this year. To recap: National media predictions for NC State: 3 wins, Chuck Amato gone at the end of the season. David Glenn: "Chuck Amato's not even on the hot seat, NC State will challenge the Florida schools for a shot at the ACC title. There's no way they'll fire Amato." I don't need to elaborate further.

Anyway. I might rag ESPN all the time (but then, they rag Notre Dame all the time), but I was particularly peeved tonight when they could have telecast Wisconsin at Indiana. Instead, they showed Ohio State at Purdue. Nothing like broadcasting a professional team versus a high school team when down the road is a match up of two top 25 programs. I suppose Matt Painter would accuse Kelvin Sampson of cheating and foul play if ESPN had pulled up and gone to Indiana for the game, so to keep from further sullying the good coach of IU, it's probably for the better. However, thankfully, ESPNews gave us a little in-game extra, so I got to watch most of the second half. A.J. Ratliff was on fire. Mike Davis should have torn the tendon in Ratliff's shooting hand when he was a freshman! To be able to step up and burn a good team on a hot streak who stresses defense first for 20 in the second half with an injured shooting hand shows an incredible set of cajones. It was tighter toward the end thanks to a suddenly ice-cold showing at the free-throw line (missing 3 of 4 which could have sealed the deal rather than dragging it out). Awesome. Just awesome. You could also see the excitement on Kelvin Sampson's face, too, down the stretch of the game. I like how you can see his emotions, but he doesn't get carried away with them like Davis did, or especially Knight. He's a little fireplug, but he also knows how to toe the line, and that's what IU needs. Well, that and a good coach. I think they've nailed both.

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