Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Flower Cookies

There used to be more, and some of the icing has already been scraped off, but here they are:

From Miscellaneous

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Still trying

California trip plus

I'm still having trouble doing this

Monday, June 09, 2008

Interesting week... lots of news

Tyler is now officially going to Voyager Academy next year. We got the call last week. Yeehaw! We're very, very happy about this. Voyager is grades 4-8, so we now know where the kids will be going up through high school. Of course, we know our current high school district as well, but a lot can change in 5 years. Carson will be going to Voyager as well, and we know she'll get in because of their "sibling preference" policy. Next year is going to be a challenge because Tyler will be on traditional calendar while Carson is on year round calendar AND of course they'll be going to different schools, which means lots of coordination on drop-offs and pick-ups.

Speaking of school calendars, last Friday was the last day of school. The kids are now on summer vacation. In Tyler's case, he has ELEVEN weeks of summer vacation. He's very happy.

Carson got her hair cut into a bob. She's adorable.

The kids had their first swim meet on Saturday. Carson won her heat and got a ribbon. Tyler now has to swim 50 yards (across the pool and back), which he did without a problem, at his usual speed. Tyler likes swimming, but he's not very concerned about what place he comes in (which is a double-edged sword -- it's good that he doesn't get upset at himself, but it's hard to motivate him to improve). Carson is a natural swimmer. She's amazing. She'd probably be one of the fastest free style swimmers in the city (after 2 weeks of practice) if she knew how to dive. We're going to setup a private diving lesson for her. She's mad at us about it, because she's scared of diving. This is the same story for Carson... over and over... she's always scared of trying anything knew and gets really upset when we force her to do it and then she ends up loving it. Like swim team. And bike riding. And water parks. And cartwheels. And skydiving.

We got Guitar Hero 3 for Carson and we're having a blast with it. Karen is the best, but she has the unfair advantage of knowing how to play guitar. Tyler's busy playing Lego Indiana Jones so he hasn't been too interested in Guitar Hero yet, but it's all Carson wants to do. Maybe she'll enjoy it so much that she'll want to take real guitar lessons like cousin Nick. I'm really bad at the game but it's still fun.

And La-La got poisoned and almost died. We still don't know what poison she swallowed, but last Thursday night she walked into the kitchen while we were eating dinner and she was panting and drooling and making strange sounds and her pupils wouldn't dilate so Karen rushed her to the vet office where she started vomiting blood and lost control of her bowels. They had two vets working on her for an hour and a half while I scoured the house and yard trying to find some toxin that she might have gotten into, unsuccessfully. They stabilized her and then Karen took her to a nearby animal hospital that could monitor her overnight. Her liver and kidneys were having problems, so the vet basically said that if the toxin destroyed her liver or kidneys then she wasn't going to make it. Her kidneys did not get back to normal until Saturday morning. We picked her up Saturday morning and she's now back at home and feels fine. The whole thing was very scary. Karen and I agree that La-La is the best cat either of us have ever had (which is saying something), so we're extremely relieved.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I had my first MRI this morning

After hearing so many horror stories about getting MRIs, I had my first MRI this morning. I've got a pinched nerve in my lower back that is causing my left thigh to go numb. They're trying to find what exactly is causing the pinched nerve... er, the "nerve impingement" is what they call it. First I had to get an X-Ray because my insurance won't let me get an MRI until I've had an X-ray first, even though everyone agreed that the X-ray wouldn't find anything. It didn't.

Anyway, the MRI was boooooooring. I didn't feel claustrophobic at all. It was just boring to have to lay there for 20 minutes with nothing to do.

So I've decided the rest of y'all are big wusses.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Explaining UX to 3rd graders

This morning I went into Tyler's class to explain what I do for a living. Here's the presentation I created to give to the class. It went well. They really liked talking about video games.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stuff that Grand Theft Auto IV messed up

So Grand Theft Auto IV made $500,000,000 in its first week of release, and $60 of that was from me. People are falling all over themselves in praise of the game, and no superlative has gone unmentioned... and I can't disagree. I've been a gamer since before "gamer" meant "computer gamer", and GTA IV is definitely on my list of "Top 10 Favorite Games Ever". I'm thinking it'll end up around #5, but I really need to go take a fresh look at my Top 10 list. A future post, perhaps. Regardless, the point is that getting onto my Top 10 list is a big deal, because I'm not some 13 year old kid who just started playing games a couple years ago.

So it would be really easy for me to write a post about all the things I love about GTA IV. From the ridiculously great job they did developing the Niko Bellic character, to the way they made Liberty City different than the previous GTA games yet still familiar, to the super skinny model on the "Anna Rex" billboard, to chases through subway tunnels, to... well, you get the idea. I could go on and on.


So instead I'm going to list some of the things Rockstar messed up... or at least some missed opportunities.

1. Graphics: Rockstar was obviously not going for photorealism in this game, because there's a certain style associated with GTA games that's not exactly cartoonish and not exactly photorealistic but something in between. I love that style, but I still think the graphics were merely good and not great. Anyone who has played Oblivion or Heavenly Sword knows what I am talking about. I was expecting to be blown away by the graphics on GTA IV, particularly considering it was only available on the next-gen XBOX 360 and PS3 consoles, but instead I thought they were just okay.

I should probably mention that I don't think graphics are really that important when it comes to making a great game. There are plenty of game on my "Favorites" list that are still wonderful in spite of being as much as 20 years old. I prefer a game that focused more on gameplay than graphics.

2. Niko Customization: It's 2008, man, people expect more ability to customize their main character than some crappy suits. Obviously Niko's appearance plays a part in the main storyline, so I can't imagine GTA IV allowing a "Tiger Woods PGA Tour"-style face customization tool... Niko can't have long, curly blond hair. He just can't. But even the ability to choose between several prefab faces would give the user a little control. Or some choices of hairstyles, or more than ONE style of sunglasses, for pete's sake! This gets back to the graphics problem a bit, but one of my problems with the small amount of customization that was allowed (buying new clothes) is that all the clothes looked terrible on Niko. Everything was form fitting to Niko's pot belly (and why does an ex-soldier hired gun need to have a pot belly anyway?). It's simple - I just want the ability to make Niko look like I want him to look... which is significantly cooler than anything that was allowed in the game.

3. Music: There's a TON of radio stations to choose from in GTA IV, and the radio stations play a part in providing the emotional feel for the game - the faux interviews and satirical commercials are hilarious, there are often updates on the radio that are relevant to the storyline (though no missions rely on listening to the radio), and when Niko steals a car the choice of radio station in the stolen car adds to the game. The radio stations are extremely well done, and Rockstar is rightly proud of them.

But GTA IV is a looooooong game. It took me about 80 hours of gameplay to complete the main storyline and I'm still in the 80s in term of percent complete. And I'm going to start my second trip through the main storyline soon. About 3/4 through my last game, I finally got so tired of the radio that I turned the music volume all the way down.

Why not have a "Listener Request" radio station and allow me to download my own music onto my XBox 360 and play that music when I tune to that station? It seems like a simple technical feat and then I could rock out to Everclear while tooling around Liberty City.

4. Bridge Driving AI: Hopefully this is something that will be fixed in the first game update, but the tendency for cars on bridges to swerve all over the place, randomly, and then get stuck in traffic jams at the end of the bridge is really annoying. I assume this is just a bug, because it doesn't add anything to the gameplay. Navigating through traffic is part of the game (in fact, it's a really fun part of the game), but what happens on the bridges is something different. It's not fun. it just gets in the way.

5. Mini Cooper: You can drive everything from a forklift to a fire engine to a Ferrari to a limo in GTA IV, so it might seem strange to complain about a missing car, but they really need a Mini Cooper clone in the game - a high performance SMALL car is exactly what you want in Liberty City, where driving in between lanes on and sidewalks is business as usual. I tend to drive motorcycles a lot for exactly this reason, but a really small car with really good performance would be a great addition to the game.

Plus, I just love Mini Coopers.

Other cars (or clones) that would be nice additions: VW Beetle, Dune Buggy, SmartCar, Dodge Charger.

6. Mini-Map: Where are you looking when you're driving? At the top of the screen. Where is the mini-map? At the bottom of the screen. Why? I'm happy to say that I play the game on a huge, widescreen HDTV, but this means that it's a significant distance to look from where I'm going down to the mini-map and then back up. Yes, if the mini-map were at the top it would sometimes get in the way (and if they had put it there I might be complaining right now about what an idiotic decision it was to put the mini-map right where you're trying to look when driving), but I really think it would be better at the top.

Hell, give users the choice. Maybe some people will want it on top and some on the bottom.

7. Body Armor on Retry: Goodness gracious, they really screwed the pooch on this one. It's great that they give that handy "Retry?" option after I fail a mission. But obviously the missions that I most often fail are the ones where someone kills me with a bunch of bullets... but when I choose to retry, it takes away my body armor!

I understand the reasoning behind this. I die, I go to the hospital, they nurse my wounds, and I emerge with "full" health... minus the body armor. Makes sense. But it's no FUN. I rarely answer "Yes" to the retry option because I always have to go find a gun shop and buy some more body armor before continuing. If I had body armor when I started a mission and I fail and I choose to retry, give me my damn body armor back. Charge me $500 for it, no problem. But don't make me waste 10 minutes buying new armor before retrying the mission.

8. Pigeons: This is LIBERTY CITY. I can run over pedestrians with only the lightest of police interest. I can blow up S.W.A.T. vans and they won't remember who I am a few minutes later. I can run red lights or run other cars off the road without any cop caring. This is a dangerous city.

But if a shoot a pigeon the cops will come after me. What the heck?

I like shooting pigeons instead of finding hidden packages. It's a nice addition to the game. Except it's annoying when cops chase me for shooting a pigeon... that's not fun.

That's my list so far. I'll add more as I think of them.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm trying another picture and album

This one was easier, but I forgot to choose "medium". I deleted the http business that was in the link line before I pasted. 1. Got another error message and deleted the highlighted part.

I think I did it!

But why did I get two pictures? And why is it so complicated? I keep getting errors when I try to publish. I delete the part that is highlighted and try to publish again each time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Miscellaneous pictures

Carson's birthday party:

Tyler as Tony Hawk at the 3rd grade "Wax Museum":

Tyler in his school music program (yes, a terrible picture, I know):

If you go to the web album, there's also a couple videos from the program on there. Tyler had a speaking line... if you look at the video, there's a pause before Tyler says his line because the kid who was supposed to talk right before him wasn't there.

Salt Lake City from the airport on my way to Las Vegas:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

pictures from Easter

Here are some pictures from our Easter slash Josephine's birthday party.

[Edited by Terry:

To link to a Picasa photo, go to the photo (not the album) that you want to link to, then look in the right-hand column for the "Link to this Photo" section. Select the size you want (I usually pick Medium) then copy the text in the "HTML to embed in website" field:

They actually make it pretty easy... assuming you can remember how to find your web album. I'd do it for you, but only the submitter sees that section. ]


Did you take pictures last night at Carson's birthday party? If so, please send them along to the doting grandparents. Love, Grandma

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Is it too early for dispassionate analysis?

Are we still in the giddy honeymoon phase or can I put my geek hat on and start looking at Crean's career and what he brings to the table? I guess we'll find out.

IU fans have disagreed a bunch about the relative importance of these various coaching dimensions, but I think there's broad agreement that these are indeed the dimensions we care about (in no particular order):

1. Integrity (running a clean program, academics, etc.)
2. Recruiting
3. "Fit" (Indiana ties, Midwest ties, etc.)
4. Age
5. Name recognition
6. Coaching Experience
7. Coaching Ability (Xs and Os)
8. Style of Play

He's my analysis for each one, for what its worth

1. Integrity
Grade: A
Indiana needed a slam dunk on this dimension and they got it. We all remember the uproar when Sampson was hired, and it centered on two things: the NCAA infractions and his graduation rate. Sampson said all the right things and successfully snowed most of us over, but obviously we learned that it's a lot easier to learn about someone's integrity based on their actions, not their words. Crean has proven over a 9 year period that he runs a clean program and graduates players - there are no negatives for us to rationalize away. If things go south in this regard under Crean, at least we'll be able to say, "No one saw that coming!"

2. Recruiting
Grade: B+
I do everything in my power to ignore recruiting. I know it's important, I just hate the drama around it. If I had my way, I wouldn't know who the new players on the team were until they were introduced at Midnight Madness. So I'm not the best person to evaluate Crean here. But based on what little I'd know, recruiting is considered one of Crean's strengths, and he has a track record of bring in good classes at Marquette and will hopefully be able to improve on that at Indiana. He's known as a passionate, hard-working recruiter, and that counts for a lot. I didn't give him an A simply because there are a handful of guys in the country that are at another level when it comes to recruiting, and there's no evidence that Crean is on par with them (Roy Williams, Bill Self, Billy Donovan, etc.). Maybe he'll get there at Indiana, but he's not there yet.

3. Fit
Grade: B+
This is clearly one of the best things about this hire, from my perspective. I didn't give him an A because he hasn't had any formal association with IU or the state of Indiana, but it's obvious that Coach Crean "gets it". He's a lifelong Midwest guy, he's recruited the state of Indiana for years, he's got Big Ten experience from MSU, and he's been a fan of Indiana since he was a kid. And you can tell that he loves the prospect of coaching basketball at Indiana University. Again, other than not being a former player or coach, it's hard to think of anyone who is a better fit.

4. Age
Grade: A
There was a lot of disagreement about how important it was to bring in a young guy who could coach at Indiana for 20 years, but all else being equal everyone seemed to agree that younger was better. At 42, Crean can be at Indiana for decades. Personally, this was an important factor for me. I would have been willing to trade some additional age to make sure we brought in someone who was a proven commodity, but in Crean we got both - ample major conference track record plus youth.

5. Name Recognition
Grade: B
Another contentious dimension, in terms of importance. Crean doesn't have the immediate name recognition that someone like Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, or John Calipari has, but he's also a bigger name than Brad Brownell, Tony Bennett, or Anthony Grant. He's been to a Final Four, he's coached multiple NBA players (including Dwayne Wade, one of the biggest names in basketball), and he's coached at a major conference school in the Midwest for nearly a decade. He's a big name, and hopefully he'll be on the same level as those first guys with a few years at IU under his belt.

6. Coaching Experience
Grade: B+
Another strength for Crean - he's got more major conference experience than many of the rumored coaching candidates. Obviously there are guys like Pitino, Kruger, or Montgomery that have a lot more experience than Crean (and the advanced ages to prove it), so I couldn't give him an A here, but 9 years at Marquette is clearly a strength, not a weakness.

7. Coaching Ability
Grade: B+
This is the toughest one to analyze, obviously, so I decided to look at some data. Let's look at his career at Marquette.

I'm using Pomeroy ranks here because Pomeroy goes back 9 years and has game-by-game data available on the website.

Looking at the above, it's a solid record. He was in rebuilding mode his first couple years at Marquette and posted solid seasons in the context of what he took over. Then he had a couple excellent seasons capped by the Final Four run in 2003. After losing Wade, Marquette struggled a bit the next two seasons, going to the NIT both times, but nothing awful. Then the last 3 seasons were in the super-sized Big East, where Marquette fared very well. Even though the overall records are similar, the 2006 team was much better than the 2005 team. It's easy to look at those Big East records and think that Marquette was little more than mediocre, but it would be a mistake. The Big East is a meat grinder. Here's a list of the records for the top Big East teams since the expansion:

That's the top 9 teams in the 16 team league. As you can see, there's a little bit of separation for Georgetown, but Marquette is right there with UConn, Louisville, Pitt, 'Nova, ND, and West Virginia in terms of league performance. No one breezes through the Big East. For those 9 teams over 3 seasons (meaning 27 records), there have only been FOUR cases of teams making it through the league with 2 or 3 losses. That should put Marquette's 31-19 record in perspective. Tom Crean took Marquette from Conference USA to the Big East and has been one of the top teams in the league.

I'm not a big fan of scoring offense or scoring defense as a measure of coaching ability, but some might find it interesting. From going through the games one-by-one, my takeaway is that Coach Crean likes to run and score in transition, but will grind it out if necessary. Marquette seemed to be just as successful in low scoring games as high-scoring games, which is a good sign, IMO.

Here's some interesting numbers. Again, these are based on Pomeroy rankings because that's what was available to me. Note that Coach Crean has never lost to a team ranked below 200 (which is actually kind of impressive, given that he had four teams ranked close to 100). Also noteworthy is that his record against 101-200 teams is 53-17, but 8 of those losses happened in his first two rebuilding years. In his last 7 seasons, he's 45-9.

His records against Top 10, Top 25, and Top 100 teams map pretty well to the strength of his individual teams (as you'd expect). Notice the increase in games against Top 25 teams from 2004 to 2008. Eleven games against Top 25 teams in 2007! That's brutal. I'll also say that considering that he has only had a Top 25 team three times out of the 9 seasons, his 24-32 overall record against Top 25 opponents is awfully impressive. I also noted that as I was going through the games - Marquette seemed to do well against the best competition, even when they didn't win.

More numbers that reflect well on Coach Crean. I threw the 10+ point defeats and wins in there, but I don't think they're very interesting. But I like the stats for games decided by 3 points or less (essentially meaning one possession games) and games decided by 6 points or less (two possession games). Being over 50% in both of those is really nice to see. It speaks to good end-game management, and he's been consistently good at that throughout his career.

Data isn't everything, but I'm very happy with what I found. Yes, he's had some average seasons, but that was at Marquette. He re-built the program there when there was absolutely no guarantee that it could be done, he successfully transitioned Marquette into the Big East when there was no guarantee that it would be smooth, he competed with the top teams in the country year in and year out and held his own, and he did it in a way that created a stable environment from season to season.

Obviously the blemish which can't be swept under the rug is NCAA tournament performance. He had the great run to the Final Four, but he also got upset twice in the first round by a 10 seed and a 12 seed (though that "12 seed" was ranked #33 by Pomeroy). Personally, I think the sample size is too small to know what kind of tournament coach he's going to be, but it's worth bringing up.

Do I need to justify why I didn't give him an A? If so, I'll simply say that he may very well be an A a few years from now, but to me an A means "one of the elite minds in college basketball" and other than the fact that he's now MY coach, there doesn't seem to be much justification for putting him in that company.

8. Style of Play
Grade: C+
This one is completely subjective, because there's no one right way to play basketball, a lot of it just comes down to personal preference. For example, I have gobs of respect for Tom Izzo and I think he's a really excellent coach, but I have never particularly liked his style of play. Even in the national title year, I didn't enjoy watching them shoot brick after brick and score off offensive rebounds. It's not ineffective, it's just not aesthetically pleasing, and that matters to me. Crean doesn't play exactly the same style, but it looks more similar than different to my untrained eye.

I'm sure I'll learn to enjoy this style more as I learn more about it, and begin to understand what the players are doing and why. But when I found out it was Crean, this was really my only concern - would I enjoy watching the team play?


I think this is a great hire, and the one thing that strikes me is the complete lack of negatives for Coach Crean. Sure, he didn't get an A across the board, but there's no coach who would. The exciting thing is that he didn't get any low marks anywhere, which is why I'm cautiously hopeful that Coach Crean will still be at Indiana 20 years from now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Interesting plane ride - take it for what its worth

(reposted from Peegs)

This relays some private conversations I had in confidence, so please do not pass the information along. I really want it to remain private, which is why I'm only posting it on Peegs' Premium IU Hoops Forum, which I know only a handful of people read.

I travel frequently to Bloomington on business, and yesterday I booked a ride on a private plane for a day trip. I knew I wasn’t going to be the only one flying, but imagine my surprise when I boarded the plane and saw Tony Bennett sitting there. I wasn’t sure what to say so I just sat down and tried to mind my own business. Tony looked a little uncomfortable, like he had just been caught eating the last Oreo, which might’ve been because of the IU hat, IU shirt, IU jacket, and IU headband I was wearing. I played it cool though.

Then I looked up and saw Bruce Pearl getting onto the plane. He looked around and said, “TONY! How the hell are you doing!!” Bruce walked over and enveloped Coach Bennett in a massive bear hug.

Once he was able to get some air, Tony gasped, “Uh, nice to meet you, Mr. Pearl.”

“Back at you!!!”, Bruce replied, slapping Tony on the back, knocking him back into his seat. “So tell me, how are you going to beat those bastard Tarheels?!”

Tony brightened right up and smiled. “Well, I’ve been analyzing all their games with a neural network supercomputer that I built in my garage last summer that uses natural learning techniques to discover hidden tendencies, and we’ve devised a defensive game plan based on faux man-oriented techniques that should…. Uh, Mr. Pearl?” While Tony was talking, Bruce had taken the air sickness bag out and was reading the instructions.

“Sorry, dude, I drifted off there.” Coach Pearl yawned loudly.

“Well, have you figured out how to beat Louisville, Mr. Pearl?” Tony asked politely.

“Yup, got it all figured out. Went to the pound yesterday and got the cutest kitten in the place. Before the game I’m going to show the kitten to my team and tell them that if they don’t win, I’ll feed the kitten to my pet boa constrictor, Harold. Works everytime.”

Coach Bennett looked a little pale. Just then we all looked up as Brad Brownell entered the cabin. He looked around the private plane like a kid in a candy store. He saw Coach Bennett and they nodded at each other, just as Bruce bellowed “BRAD!!” and ran up to Coach Brownell to chest bump him. Once Brad regained his feet, he asked where he’s supposed to sit. I told him that on private planes you can just sit anywhere you’d like.

“Cool!” he said. He sat as far away from Bruce as he could. He reclined the back of his seat and said, “Neato!” Then he started playing with the stereo headphones.

At this point, I couldn’t help myself any longer, and I asked, “So, I guess you guys are heading to Bloomington about the Indiana coaching position?”

“My sole focus right now is on my team and beating North Carolina, and I’m completely happy at Washington State and expect to coach there for the rest of my career,” replied Coach Bennett.

“My sole focus right now is on my team and beating Louisville, and I love Tennessee and if Indiana contacts me like I expect them to, I will tell them I have no interest in the position,” replied Coach Pearl.

“Yeah, Indiana rocks, man!” replied Coach Brownell.

Just then we were all temporarily blinded by a bright light from the entrance to the cabin. Once our eyes adjusted to the light, we realized that it was the morning sun reflecting off a white Armani suit, worn by none other than Rick Pitino. Coach Pitino strolled into the cabin, removed his ermine shawl and handed it elegantly to the flight attendant, who curtsied almost against her will.

“Oh, crap,” said Tony.

“I need another kitten,” Bruce muttered.

Coach Brownell knelt before Coach Pitino and kissed his ring finger. “Rise, my child,” said Rick graciously.

“Don’t tell me you’re interested in the Indiana job, Coach Pitino!” Brad said. “You’ve got a great thing going at Louisville, why would you leave there to go to Indiana?”

“My sole focus right now is on my team and beating Tennessee and I’m completely happy…” Rick paused. “Ah, hell, who am I kidding? I’m not worried about Tennessee at all and I’m bored to death at Louisville. The program is in great shape. We’ve got a great athletic director, new facilities, plenty of money, good players, good recruits…. What’s the point? Hell, Bruce Weber could take over for me right now and even he probably couldn’t screw it up.” He paused. “Well, maybe he could. Anyway, it’s boring with a capital B. But Indiana?” Rick sighed and got a little misty eyed. “They’re a complete mess. A historic program that seems to be doing everything it can to self-destruct. They NEED me. I can SAVE them. Think about it. I would win a title there, you can bet on it. If I win titles at both Indiana and Kentucky… hell, they’ll still be talking about me a hundred years from now.”

At this point Bruce stood up suddenly and took off his shirt, displaying a huge, red “INDIANA” tattoo across his abdomen. “You son of a bitch, I’m going to be the next coach at Indiana, not you!!”

“You wish!” Tony yelled. “Everyone agrees I’m the best fit!!”

“Yeah, everyone loves to win 45-40,” Brad said sarcastically.

“What did you say?!” Tony grabbed the front of Brad’s shirt as Bruce climbed over the row of seats towards Rick, who rose and began to remove his leather gloves.

I thought things were going to get ugly when someone else entered the cabin. Suddenly everything got silent. The world seemed to freeze for a few seconds, then each of the coaches sat quietly back in their seats.

“Oh, crap,” said Coach Pitino.

“What up, coach?” said Brad to the newcomer… everyone groaned and ducked out of the way.


That’s it. Like I said, please don’t pass this insider information along.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Peegs' coaching hot board

Here's the Coaching Hot List from Peegs'.

Here's my ranking of them based on how much I want them:

1. Tony Bennett
2. Jamie Dixon
3. Anthony Grant
4. Brad Brownell
5. Sean Miller

6. Mike Montgomery
7. Rick Pitino
8. Thad Matta
9. Tom Crean
10. Jay Wright
11. Mike Brey

12. Randy Wittman
13. Bruce Pearl
14. Rick Barnes
15. Scott Skiles

16. Dan Dakich
17. Kevin Stallings
18. Scott Drew
19. John Calipari

The gaps indicate big drops between one coach and the next in terms of my interest.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Carson's room

As always, click on the picture to see the larger view.

And you can view the whole album HERE.

That last one isn't actually Carson's room.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fourteen years

Memories... light the corners of my mind... misty water-colored memories... of the way we were...

Without further ado, I present the last 14 years of Indiana's great basketball program. Summary chart is at the end.

Coach: Bob Knight
19-12 Overall
11-7 Big Ten
FG%: .484
Opp FG%: .410
Starters: Alan Henderson
Brian Evans
Andrae Patterson
Neil Reed
Michael Hermon
NCAA - 9 seed
Final Game - Lost in 1st round 65-60 to 8 seed Missouri

Coach: Bob Knight
19-12 Overall
12-6 Big Ten
FG%: .472
Opp FG%: .409
Starters: Brian Evans
Andrae Patterson
Neil Reed
Charlie Miller
Sherron Wilkerson
NCAA - 6 seed
Final Game - Lost in 1st round 64-52 to 11 seed Boston College

Coach: Bob Knight
22-11 Overall
9-9 Big Ten
FG%: .438
Opp FG%: .422
Starters: AJ Guyton
Neil Reed
Andrae Patterson
Jason Collier
Charlie Miller
NCAA - 8 seed
Final Game - Lost in 1st round 80-62 to 9 seed Colorado

Coach: Bob Knight
20-12 Overall
9-7 Big Ten
FG%: .491
Opp FG%: .446
Starters: AJ Guyton
Luke Recker
Andrae Patterson
William Gladness
Michael Lewis
NCAA - 7 seed
Final Game - Lost in 2nd round 78-61 to 2 seed UConn

Coach: Bob Knight
23-11 Overall
9-7 Big Ten
FG%: .469
Opp FG%: .419
Starters: AJ Guyton
Luke Recker
William Gladness
Larry Richardson
Lynn Washington
NCAA - 6 seed
Final Game - Lost in 2nd round 86-61 to 3 seed St. John's

Coach: Bob Knight
20-9 Overall
10-6 Big Ten
FG%: .478
Opp FG%: .388
Starters: AJ Guyton
Kirk Haston
Dane Fife
Lynn Washington
Michael Lewis
NCAA - 6 seed
Final Game - Lost in 1st round 77-57 to 11 seed Pepperdine

Coach: Mike Davis
21-13 Overall
10-6 Big Ten
FG%: .453
Opp FG%: .394
Starters: Jared Jeffries
Dane Fife
Tom Coverdale
Kirk Haston
Jeff Newton
NCAA - 4 seed
Final Game - Lost in 1st round 77-73 to 13 seed Kent State

Coach: Mike Davis
25-12 Overall
11-5 Big Ten
FG%: .460
Opp FG%: .408
Starters: Jared Jeffries
Dane Fife
Kyle Hornsby
Tom Coverdale
Jared Odle
NCAA - 5 seed
Final Game - Lost title game 64-52 to 1 seed Maryland

Coach: Mike Davis
21-13 Overall
8-8 Big Ten
FG%: .426
Opp FG%: .416
Starters: Tom Coverdale
Jeff Newton
Bracey Wright
George Leach
Kyle Hornsby
NCAA - 7 seed
Final Game - Lost in 2nd round 74-52 to 2 seed Pittsburgh

Coach: Mike Davis
14-15 Overall
7-9 Big Ten
FG%: .397
Opp FG%: .425
Starters: Bracey Wright
Marshall Strickland
AJ Moye
George Leach
Donald Perry
NCAA - None
Final Game - Lost 71-59 to Illinois in BTT

Coach: Mike Davis
15-14 Overall
10-6 Big Ten
FG%: .425
Opp FG%: .420
Starters: DJ White
Robert Vaden
Marshall Strickland
Bracey Wright
AJ Ratliff
NCAA - None (NIT)
Final Game - Lost 67-60 to Vanderbilt in 1st round NIT game

Coach: Mike Davis
19-12 Overall
9-7 Big Ten
FG%: .461
Opp FG%: .436
Starters: Robert Vaden
Marco Killingsworth
Marshall Strickland
Lewis Monroe
Earl Calloway
NCAA - 6 seed
Final Game - Lost in 2nd round 90-80 to 3 seed Gonzaga

Coach: Kelvin Sampson
21-11 Overall
10-6 Big Ten
FG%: .446
Opp FG%: .416
Starters: DJ White
Roderick Wilmont
Earl Calloway
Armon Bassett
Lance Stemler
NCAA - 7 seed
Final Game - Lost in 2nd round 54-49 to 2 seed UCLA

Coach: Kelvin Sampson & Dan Dakich
25-8 Overall
14-4 Big Ten
FG%: .463
Opp FG%: .412
Starters: DJ White
Eric Gordon
Jamarcus Ellis
Armon Bassett
Lance Stemler
NCAA - 8 Seed
Final Game - Lost in 1st round 86-72 to 9 seed Arkansas

Win Loss Win Loss FG% FG% Seed Games
94-95 19 12 11 7 484 410 9 1
95-96 19 12 12 6 472 409 6 1
96-97 22 11 9 9 438 422 8 1
97-98 20 12 9 7 491 446 7 2
98-99 23 11 9 7 469 419 6 2
99-00 20 9 10 6 478 388 6 1
00-01 21 13 10 6 453 394 4 1
01-02 25 12 11 5 460 408 5 6
02-03 21 13 8 8 426 416 7 2
03-04 14 15 7 9 397 425 - 0
04-05 15 14 10 6 425 420 - 0
05-06 19 12 9 7 461 436 6 2
06-07 21 11 10 6 446 416 7 2
07-08 25 8 14 4 463 412 8 1
Avg 20.3 11.8 9.9 6.6 455 416 6.6 1.6

Number of wins over higher-seeded teams: 2 (both in '02)
Number of losses to lower-seeded teams: 5
Number of losses to higher-seeded teams: 7
Number of wins over lower-seeded teams: 8
Overall NCAA tournament record: 10-12

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What might have been

In 1948 UCLA was looking for a new basketball coach...the two finalists were Joe Schmo from L.A. and John Wooden from Indiana. The fan base and alumni were screaming for a "UCLA Guy" or a "west coast guy". Joe Schmo was hired. John Wooden, somewhat depressed, accepted a job at Pfizer Chemical in Terre Haute, Indiana...he retired after 40 years of service in the maintenance department.
In 1961, North Carolina's basketball coach, Frank McGuire, was forced to resign due to a recruiting scandal. The fan base and alumni blamed the University for hiring a New York native and former coach at St. Johns. They screamed for a "Carolina Blue Guy". The two finalists were Jim Schmo (brother to Joe) who had a degree from Carolina and Dean Smith, who was McGuire's assistant coach for 3 years. Smith was not chosen because people felt he was tainted by the scandal and was a midwesterner from Kansas. Smith eventually accepted a position at IBM and flipped houses in his spare time.
In 1971, Indiana was seeking a new basketball coach and hired Billy Jo Bob, an IU grad and high school phenom. They had considered Bob Knight but the fan base and alumni didn't want an Ohio native and one who played collegiately at Ohio State. Bob was the coach at Army but later founded an outdoor publication called Walleye Insider...he was never seen again after his lightweight Cessna disappeared from Winnipeg's radar screen in 1976.
In 1975, Duke University was looking for a new basketball coach. Despite grumblings from the fan base and alumni, they gambled on a Chicago kid nicknamed coach K, who was a graduate assistant for Billy Jo Bob at IU.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My conflict over Rick Pitino

First off, just to be clear, I'll give our new coach a chance no matter who it is. If Greenspan hires Charles Manson to be the new coach, you'll see me on the board saying things like "Sure, what he did was wrong, but that was before he was coaching at Indiana, and I'm sure he knows that stuff won't fly here," and "Technically, I don't think brainwashing people to commit murders is an NCAA violation." I'm not going to take my ball and go home if Greenspan doesn't pick "my" candidate (and so far I don't have a particular guy that I'm pulling for... and I'm trying hard to stay that way).

That said, it obviously doesn't mean that I have no feelings about the search at all. Basically, there are a number of coaches that I've seen mentioned for the job that I don't want to see hired. They fall into two main camps:

1. Coaches who I think just aren't very good and are only mentioned because of some IU tie (like Dakich, Alford, Stallings, etc.)
2. Big-name coaches who I don't think are clean enough (like Calipari, Pearl, etc.)

And then there's Rick Pitino. Pitino represents a real conundrum for me.

1. As far as I can tell, Pitino runs a clean program, and has run clean programs for years.
2. As much as he's considered an "East coast guy", he's spent most of the last 20 years coaching within a couple hour drive of Bloomington, Indiana. He knows the midwest.
3. I think he's a good coach.
4. From a distance, I like his relationship with his players. He doesn't try to be their friend, but they seem to like playing for him anyway.
5. I think Pitino would be really successful at Indiana. Really successful. Like Final Fours and National Titles.

And yet, I have a big problem with Pitino. I hate his style of play. That's it in a nutshell. I don't think his style is bad or it makes him a bad coach, I just think it's ugly to watch.

When Pitino went to Kentucky, Kentucky was not in good shape. They had a little talent, but nothing like what would come later. When a team doesn't have much talent and needs to beat more talented teams, conventional wisdom says that you want to slow the game down and decrease the number of possessions. The fewer the possessions, the less chance the more talented team has to pull away.

Pitino turned that on its ear. He decided that what he wanted to do was minimize the number of halfcourt possessions, both offensively and defensively. So he focused on reducing the opponent's halfcourt offensive possessions by playing full court, pressure, trapping defenses that generated turnovers and made the opponent score in transition (which seems like a bad thing, except it was outside their comfort zone). And he focused his team on scoring in transition, even when the numbers weren't in his favor, and particularly on shooting 3s in transition (which wasn't commonplace back then). And of course he played his whole bench in order to wear the other team down. He increased the importance of athleticism at the expense of "basketball smarts". This was a brilliant coaching move, and it also was a style that the players loved, so recruiting followed.

And I hated watching it.

As Kentucky's talent increased, the effectiveness of this technique increased even more... or did it? I would submit that it didn't. Kentucky had so much talent that they didn't need to rely on high-risk/high-return techniques to win. Early on, the techniques turned probable losses into wins, but at some point it stopped doing that. I think it starting turning probable wins into blowouts... and then UK would run into a team with great guards who could consistently break UK's fullcourt press and POW the core of UK's gameplan was useless. In other words, they reached a point where Kentucky's style was most effective when it was least needed, and least effective when it was most needed.

And I hated watching it.

Giving credit where credit is due, Pitino's reliance on fullcourt defense and 3 point shooting seems to have gone down over time and he's adjusted to today's game. The man's a good coach. If he was hired by Indiana, I'm sure I'd feel some excitement over the success I think he'd bring to the program. But I'd also feel some real disappointment at the prospect of watching Indiana play that style of ball. There's nothing evil about it. There's nothing stupid about it. I just don't enjoy it.

I'd be very conflicted.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Big Ten race is heating up!

Indiana (9-1) now has road wins over Ohio State, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota... against one loss at Wisconsin. Concerns about our soft schedule are now moot, in my opinion - we're a legitimate contender for the B10 crown with the wins to prove it.

The other contenders are Purdue (10-1), Wisconsin (9-2), and Michigan State (8-2).

Working backwards, I don't think Michigan State has much of a chance. Their remaining schedule is brutal. The still play on the road at Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Illinois. The fact that they've already lost road games at Iowa and Penn State suggests that they won't win enough of those games to win the B10 title. Pomeroy predicts them to finish 10-6.

Wisconsin still has road games against Indiana, Ohio State, Illinois, and Northwestern, plus the MSU game at home. Finishing with one more loss would require a remarkable run of basketball... two losses is probably more likely. Pomeroy predicts them to finish 14-4. They've got an outside shot at the title, and if they beat Indiana on the road then they become a frontrunner.

Purdue has road games against Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, and Northwestern, plus a home game against MSU. Given that they just won at Wisconsin, all those games are winnable, but like Wisconsin I think 1 more loss would be extremely impressive and 2 losses is probable. But that still leaves them at 15-3 in the B10 (which is also what Pomeroy predicts).

Indiana only has 3 road games left against Michigan State, Northwestern, and Penn State, by far the easiest road schedule of the contenders. It's the home games that are brutal for Indiana - Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Purdue all in a row next up, then two more home games against Ohio State and Minnesota. If Indiana holds home court it's hard to picture them not at least sharing the B10 title, but that's a big if. In addition to the MSU road game, I think there's another loss lurking in there somewhere. 15-3 is the most likely finish.

So, best guess at this point is tying with Purdue for the B10 title at 15-3 with Wisconsin one game behind at 14-4.

Who is the best bet to win the title? I have to say Purdue. They have the best win in the conference (at Wisconsin) and their only loss was by 3 at Michigan State. But their edge over Indiana at this point is very slight.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I don't hate Kentucky

There was a time, a long time ago, when my intense dislike for Rick Pitino certainly bled over to the Kentucky program in general, but even then I always kinda liked the UK fans. They know their basketball and a fair number of them can manage to enjoy the rivalry with Indiana without letting it destroy their perspective.

I don't hate Purdue. Never have. I always liked Gene Keady. Not only was he a good coach, but he always struck me as being a good guy who was surprisingly funny in the right circumstances. I've made friends with a handful of Purdue fans over the years, though not in the same number as UK fans... Purdue fans tend to be pretty myopic about the rest of college basketball.

I used to hate Michigan. They were the one team in the B10 that I would root against in the NCAA tournament. I can't hate them anymore. They were just so pathetic during Tommy Amaker's tenure that they didn't inspire strong feelings, and I really enjoy John Beilein's style of play. I haven't met a Michigan basketball fan that I've liked yet, but that's probably just because there are so few of them. It's like trying to meet a scuba diver that you like in Wyoming.

I hate Illinois. I am absolutely amazed at the amount of whining Bruce Weber has publicly done about Eric Gordon... and about everything else. I have rarely seen a game where the refs helped a team as much as they helped Illinois last night, and Weber whined about not getting any breaks after the game. All coaches work the refs during the game and express mock outrage at calls and non-calls, but in Weber's case he seems to not be acting. Even before I knew who Gordon was, I had a hard time stomaching the Illinois games because watching Weber on the sidelines made me nauseous. I do think he's a good game coach, though, begrudgingly giving credit where credit is due.

I hate the Illinois players. This is a new thing - I actually really liked Illinois's team the year they made it to the championship game. They were unselfish, played hard, and were fun to watch... and seemed like classy kids. There's nothing classy about this year's squad. They embarrassed their program last night. Everyone knew there were going to play with a lot of emotion last night. Everyone knew that this was going to be a tough, physical game. That's college basketball. It's part of what makes it fun -- I don't think you ever see that kind of emotion in the NBA. But last night went beyond playing hard. I honestly believe that if Eric Gordon had gotten injured during the game from one of the many elbows thrown his way, the Illinois players would have been happy.

And I really hate the Illinois fans. I don't think IU fans are universally wonderful, smart, gracious people who shrug off disappointment and don't hold grudges. If the Eric Gordon situation had been reversed, I am sure I would have been embarrassed by the behavior of a few Indiana fans. But I am morally certain that we would not have degraded ourselves as a group like Illinois has. We'd have decided that if Gordon wanted to go to Illinois more than Indiana then it was his loss (arrogant self-justification, admittedly, but that's what would have happened). When Gordon came to Bloomington, he would have caught grief, but more in the "Hey, this is a great excuse to party" kind of way. The Illinois fanbase needs to look in the mirror... they are hurting their program.

To make a long story short, last night's double overtime victory over Illinois and the officiating crew was as satisfying a victory as I've experienced from watching Indiana for years. They pulled out a win on the road in extremely difficult circumstances against a team that is far better than its record suggests. Frankly, I'm amazed Indiana won.

And happy. Very, very happy.

A sad, classless scene from Champaign

Illini fans angry at Hoosier's Gordon cross line

Illini seethe hatred at Eric Gordon (and family), but IU wins anyway

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bob Knight "Interview" with Jay Bilas

Jay obviously didn't need to do much prompting.

And, as usual, Coach Knight was unable to bring himself to say the word "Indiana". At one point, he had no choice, but said "in the midwest" instead.

Some Bob Knight articles

A Coach Who Frequently Lost It Seemingly Had Nothing Left by John Feinstein (great article, terrible title)

General's Last Stand by Dan Wetzel

Ex-IU Players React to News by Michael Marot

Bob Knight's Gifts as Abundant as his Faults by Eric Crawford

My take? Simple, really. I think Knight's astonishing coaching talent and integrity in running his programs doesn't excuse the fact that he was a pluperfect jerk. And I think the fact that he was a pluperfect jerk doesn't invalidate his astonishing coaching talent and integrity in running his program. Both facts are equally true and valid, neither eclipses the other, and the two can't be separated. The same character traits that made him a great coach also made him a jerk. If someone could have waved a magic wand and softened Knight's edges 35 years ago, I'm convinced he would have been a lesser coach because of it.

I'm glad Bob Knight was Indiana's coach during my formative years, and I have never enjoyed IU basketball more or followed it with more passion than when he was the coach of my team... but in retrospect it was almost a relief when he left. The sideshow that enveloped him had become a distraction from following the team.

I just wish his successor had not brought his own sideshow with him as well.

Good luck, Coach Knight. Enjoy your fishing, you've earned it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pictures from our trip to NYC

Here's the whole web album - Click here

Here's a few pictures to whet the appetite.

View from hotel room:

Central Park:

Me on big rock in Central Park:

Ice skaters in Central Park:

FAO Schwartz:

One of the Grace buildings:

Grand Central:

Rockefeller Center:

Bad picture inside St. Patrick's Cathedral:

Intersection of Chinatown and Little Italy: