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SHOOTING\nWhile the Hoosiers lead the Big Ten in field goal percentage, they’ve also done a lot of their damage on offense from the free throw line.\nIU not only leads the conference in free throws attempted, it also shoots the highest percentage from the charity stripe. A majority of those free throws have been shot by Eric Gordon, who entered last night’s game averaging 23 points per game, the 10th highest average in the nation. Gordon shot 127 free throws in the first 15 games of the season, making 108. Couple that with the efficient inside presence of D.J. White, and you have the Big Ten’s best offense through the first half of the season.\nThe one offensive aspect of concern for the Hoosiers is their assist-to-turnover ratio which is rated toward the bottom of the conference. Kelvin Sampson seems leery of implementing an offensive scheme with a lot of ball movement, preferring to rely on the superior athleticism of his players. Not exactly the Princeton offense, but it has worked up to this point.
I've seen a lot in my line of work. Debauchery, sex, money, food. No, this isn't the latest issue of Hustler. I'm a delivery driver.\nI LOVE MY JOB\nI have the greatest job ever. Something funny happens every day I work. \nWe get the kind of stories you can end with "Dude, that's how pornos start!" \nI don't plan on doing this as a career, but for now, it is definitely the best way to pay my bills.\nWHEN EVERYONE'S DRUNK\nAt 2:30 a.m. when everyone's drunk and I tell someone I'll be there in "two minutes," it usually takes them 15 minutes to come to the door. For some reason, people just don't understand the intricacies of ordering food. I mean, what part of the number two is confusing? Polite drivers will give you 10 minutes to get the food, but I've delivered long enough to understand time really is money. If you take 10 minutes to come down, I've already been gone for five.\nCITIES IN CHINA\nTipping is not a city in China. If you're ordering at three in the morning, this should be your mantra. We get paid a fair rate, but it's not enough to account for gas and repairs. I've had people hand me a $50 bill for a $5 sandwich, and tell me they don't have enough for a tip.\nI LOVE YOU DRUNK PEOPLE\nDrunk people can be the best part of the job. Sometimes they are the best tippers because they don't realize what they are doing. I've had people sign credit card slips for friends and give me $6 tips for $10 orders. I love you, drunk people.\nTHE DORMS\nI remember one of my first deliveries to Forest. I pulled up, and a girl was sitting on a bench, regretting what sounded like a great night. \nI was thinking, "Man I'm glad I'm not her," but before I finished my thought, she puked on the sidewalk. \n"Holy shit that's a lot of…." And before I could finish, she puked again. \n"Holy shit that's a lot of … " and she spewed yet again. \nIf you've ever seen "Team America: World Police," it was kind of like that. But better. \nSMALLWOOD\nI was standing in the doorway of an apartment at Smallwood Plaza while a customer searched for his money. While standing there, I overheard the customer's roommate attempting to recreate a scene from Howard Stern's movie "Private Parts." \nIn the scene, Stern hums into a microphone during a radio broadcast while a female listener straddles her speaker. The vibrations from the speaker cause her to orgasm. \nThe kid at Smallwood decided to have his girlfriend, or a girl he knew, put him on speaker phone while she placed the phone between her legs as he hummed loudly. \nI'm willing to bet it didn't have the same result.\nTHE VILLAS\nAnother driver told me about two girls who flagged him down in the Villas. When he rolled down his window, they flashed him. Then they asked him, "Do you have any breadsticks?" -- which is funny, because we aren't a pizza delivery place. \nThe best part was the driver's description of the faces of the guys those girls were with. They apparently had a look that said, "We're going to have to double bag it tonight."\nSAFE SEX\nA friend from a competing establishment known for its safe-sex views told me stories about how when drivers show up to parties, desperate guys grab them and beg, as if the driver is Jesus reincarnate, for some condoms. \nCHAP STICK\nThen there are drunk girls who answer the doors of their houses wearing only towels. And the girls walking from the bars in their short mini-skirts in 20-degree weather, which makes you wonder if they need chap stick.\nGIGGLING LIKE TEENAGERS\nSometimes when I get really bored while working, I fake a British accent. It's amazing how differently girls react to a guy with a British accent than to a typical American. When a simple country boy from Terre Haute shows up, sometimes they just pay and go. But when the British gent is delivering their sandwich, for some reason three or four girls show up to pick up one sandwich, giggling like teenagers.
Two words that regularly promise some hope for filmgoers are "Focus Features." \nThanks to Focus, cinematic treasures such as "Lost in Translation," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and most recently "Atonement." have been given to the masses. \nBased on Ian McEwan's novel, "Atonement" follows the story of Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), a young aspiring writer who falsely accuses her housekeeper's son Robbie (James McAvoy) of raping her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and has to deal with the ramifications of her accusation. \nThree actresses stand in as Briony, with the plot spanning several decades. With her wide, staring eyes and flitting glances, Saoirse Ronan conveys 13-year-old Briony's complicated feelings and motivations. Romola Garai's work studying Ronan's mannerisms pays off, keeping a smooth, convincing transition to 18-year-old Briony. Vanessa Redgrave puts the exclamation point at the end of the film, stepping in as 77-year-old Briony atoning for the consequences that unfold in the film.\nThe score complements both Briony's writing aspirations and agitation, incorporating pulsing typewriter sounds that heightens Briony's dilemma.\nThe movie's love story focuses on Robbie and Cecilia. A brush of their hands and the occasional quiver of Knightley's lips offer chemistry between the two that leaves you with a sense of frustration and loss after Robbie is separated from his lover.\nFilmed in several English locations, the scenes set in a barn loft or on a war-torn beach immerse the viewer in the war environment. Clothing like Cecilia's flower-sequenced blouse, Briony's nurse bonnet and the 1930s-era bathing suits also bring the era to life.\nA compelling cinematic interpretation, "Atonement" is a heartbreaking love story that will make you cry for all the right reasons.
If anyone has a younger brother, sister, niece or nephew or just baby-sits, then you're familiar with VeggieTales. Each VeggieTales story has a plot meant to teach kids morals and values, usually using a biblical story as a backdrop, although they have used "Rocky" in the past.\n"The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" is a story about courage, self-discovery and hope. It stars three friends: Larry the Cucumber, Sedgewick, and George the Grape, who work as busboys at a pirate-themed dinner theater. While trying to move up, they get fired after a botched audition for the show. From there, they get sucked into a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas. Even though these three aren't real heroes, the fate of their nation's royalty rests in their hands.\nIf the story sounds familiar, it is. You can see stuff like this in cheesy cartoons from the '80s ("Captain N and the Video Game Masters"), Disney movies ("A Kid in King Arthur's Court") and of course one of the greatest movies ever made "Back to the Future." The difference here is this movie wasn't made to wow Hollywood. Oscars won't be won here; this one is for the kids.\nThe voicework is cheesy, although anyone who is a fan of video games and anime should recognize Cam Clarke (a popular voice actor in the "Metal Gear" video game series) as the villain and the king. \nFurthermore, the animation makes "Chicken Little" look like "Fantasia."\nIf you get roped into taking your nephew or someone you're baby-sitting, the story is amusing enough to make you laugh and keep you entertained, especially the scenes with the Rock Monster (sit during the credits for an amusing parody of "Rock Lobster") and the killer cheese curls.\nIn terms of cliche children's stories about morals, this one is decent. Although, if you're on a date with Mary Jane, it should be amazing.
Horror movies, good and bad, can shock and appall, but only rarely do they genuinely open a door to a deeper part of our humanity. Spain's "The Orphanage" does just that, with doors and windows continually appearing to pass the audience from one world to another. \nThese portals transport Laura (Belén Rueda), a mother whose son Simón (Roger Príncep) has gone mysteriously missing, deeper into her house in futile search, with ever-increasing paranormal activity around her. Even as her husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) tries to convince her otherwise, Laura believes she is growing closer to putting together the puzzle of her son's disappearance.\nI'll hold off on plot points here because the shocks alone are worth the price of admission. I barely made it through without cowering behind a chair. Suffice it to say, all the typical elements of a horror movie are present: the chanting kids, the haunted ex-orphanage, the bumps in the night, etc. \nThe genius of J.A. Bayona, in his stunning feature film debut, however, lies in his ability to fill in the gaps between the "Boo!" moments, or more accurately, to force the audience to fill in the gaps for him. He pulls the tension as tight as possible right from the start and doesn't let go, leaving no slack moments to relax.\nIn addition to this proper balance of suspense and horror, Bayona avoids the cliches of modern horror. He refuses not only the high-gore teenager body count of American horror, but also the endless "Gotcha!" gimmickry of Japanese imports. \nInstead, much like in his friend (and the producer of the film) Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth," fear takes hold of us in Bayona's film because we believe in his characters. As Laura goes deeper into the alternate world inside her house, we believe in her quest because we can see it: In her sagging eyes and rough voice. Rueda plays Laura with force; she is never a victim. She always chooses her path, and we willingly follow behind. Whether she's really seeing ghosts or simply going insane, the audience has faith in Laura as a mother and human being.\nJudging by the sparse crowd, I imagine this movie doesn't have much of an audience, but it deserves one. "The Orphanage" opens a door that will remain open long after you've left the theater.
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo is arguably one of the most enigmatic artists of the last 20 years, due to his fans' die-hard allegiance and all the dramatic subplots that have dogged Weezer since 1996. Over the years, Cuomo wrote hundreds of songs fans never heard -- including the scrapped record Songs From the Black Hole -- and he's finally released a collection of them on Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. \nAny major fan of the Weez knows the band's best material was made with the band's first two albums Weezer (The Blue Album) and Pinkerton, both of which are located in the highest pantheon of legendary emo-pop. Since Weezer's return in 2001, the songs have been nothing more than weightless, pop fluff such as "Beverly Hills." Thankfully, Alone's tracklist -- which contains songs from 1992 to 2007 -- is chronological, making it easy to distinguish between Cuomo's heyday and whatever the hell he's been doing since. \nAll the strong songs here are from the aforementioned Black Hole, a supposed concept album about space travel as a metaphor for success. One of those tracks "Blast Off!" is a short ditty that includes a Weezer (Blue Album)-style riff and a garbled voice distortion, but it's some\nthing you'd expect from Cuomo circa 1995.\n"Superfriend" also sounds similar to quality Weezer, with a simple, foot-tapping melody accompanying quirky lyrics from Rivers: "What the hell am I doing here / Thinking with my willie / Knowing I don't love her I tell her no / Then kiss her toes." It's not a fantastic song -- much like most of the older songs here -- but it's great to hear stuff that's created rumors for years.\nSadly, once the album delves into more recent demos, the mood completely sours. The over-produced shallow rock songs show up, and if you're a longtime fan, they will probably fill you with rage similar to that of your first listen of Make Believe. \nThe worst offender is "This Is The Way," which was scrapped from Weezer's upcoming album for good reason. It includes "singing" from Cuomo as he continuously spurts "This is the way baby," which would work if this was a Justin Timberlake track, but here it's simply embarrassing. \nAlone does a great job of capturing what could have been and what is for Cuomo and his fans from the past 15 years. The good outweighs the bad here, but unfortunately, Cuomo is satisfied with continuing to deliver the bad from here on out.
With global warming on the front of everyone's mind, how about the thought of the world ending from just the opposite? \nThat's what Alex Garland's script suggests. In "Sunshine," the Sun is dying, resulting in a permanent winter. A group of seven individuals with various specialties take off on the Icarus II project, the second ship sent to try to reignite the Sun with a nuclear bomb. The crew, which most notably includes physicist Kappa (Murphy) and engineer Mace (Evans), is hit with several surprises on its way to try to save the world.\nThe movie starts right in the middle of the action, requiring a few scenes for you to get on your feet. But once the movie gels in the middle, it approaches brilliance. Right before true enlightenment arrives, though, a twist nearly ruins the rest of the movie. What was an engaging sci-fi flick quickly turns into a slasher B-movie.\nAlthough the movie takes a bit of a dive, it still retains some value. Danny Boyle's knack for great visual effects comes into play, bringing the film to life. There is also a solid cast, led by Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans, making the film more human and believable. \nAs with any sci-fi movie, you may wonder how realistic the film is. That's why Danny Boyle brought in Dr. Brian Cox from the University of Manchester to keep the film scientific and possible. So while "Sunshine" may not be for the average movie-goer, it will be enjoyed by sci-fi fans and people who are interested in this subject.\nThe special features are few but they are well-worth watching. They contain the usual commentary by the director, but even better, they include a commentary by Cox talking about the scientific aspect of the movie. There are also a few great deleted scenes, led by a great opening sequence that introduces everyone on the ship -- something that would have made for a more helpful start to the film. \nThere are also two very cool short films, the 7-minute "Dad's Dead" by Chris Shepherd and the 7-minute "Mole Hills" by Dan Arnold, which Boyle decided to spotlight on the DVD. \nThe DVD is worthwhile for those who have seen the film as well as sci-fi fans in general.
"American Gladiators," that great Spandex-clad fight contest, has made its triumphant return to television, and NBC has done its best to make it palatable to the masses, recruiting Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali to host. If the 12 million people watching the premiere are any indication, it seems the reality format, which picks "average Americans" to battle with pugil sticks, has succeeded. The show attempts to evoke more human interest than trash-talk, and a good heaping of '80s nostalgia may be just what a strike-ravaged TV schedule needs.
Without Arnold Schwarzenegger to anchor the series, Fox has pinned its hopes on Lena Headey, who plays the title character Sarah Connor. The plot will be familiar to fans of the movie, as Connor tries to protect her son John (Thomas Dekker) from the Terminators sent back to destroy him. Fox lines up the usual action fare of explosions and chases, along with the requisite hot girl, this time in the form of Connor bodyguard Terminator Cameron (Summer Glau). Fox hopes a Schwarzenegger-less "Terminator" can still carry the day.
The following are excerpts from conversations I've had with dozens of people recently:\nTV fan: "It's January and you know what that means -- time for '24.'"\nMe: "Actually, because of the Writers Guild of America strike, they weren't able to complete all the episodes so Fox decided '24' will be off-air indefinitely."\nTV fan: "That's complete bullshit, but at least I'll have the winter returns of my other favorites such as 'Heroes.'"\nMe: "Well, again due to the strike, they've run out of episodes and will be off-air indefinitely as well."\nTV fan: "What the hell, man? What are they striking for?"\nWhat's the deal?\nTherein lies the sad truth: Aside from the writers themselves, no one is affected by this strike more than the fans, but I'd guess less than eight percent of fans really know what's been going on the last two months.\nThe WGA -- which includes all Hollywood writers, not just TV -- is striking against the studios primarily over residual money from DVD sales and compensation for creations of "new media," such as online content. Both mediums provide much more money than box-office numbers or advertising dollars, and currently the writers receive very little (0.3%) for DVDs and absolutely nothing for new media. \nThe two sides haven't sat down at the bargaining table since early December, and the WGA has decided it wants to deal with individual studios, only dragging out this awful process longer. \nHow does this affect the viewers?\nThe main problem is that the effects of the strike didn't appear immediately. Most prime-time shows continued to run episodes throughout November and then took their normal break over the holiday season. But now is the time fans are going to be hit hard. \nAlmost all the programs that began in the fall are either fresh out of new episodes or have only a handful remaining. Shows such as "Heroes," "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "CSI:" have nothing new left for 2008 and won't resume production until the strike ends. Even the shows that are premiering in the new year such as "Lost" or "Medium" won't provide a full season, even in the case of the smaller-than-average 16-episode order of "Lost," which will have eight episodes complete.\nAnd with the lack of new scripted programming becoming a stone cold reality at the end of March, what will the studios turn to? Reality TV. Be on the lookout for a winter version of "Big Brother" or the resurrection of "The Mole," not to mention whatever awful reality shows FOX concocts. \nMuch worse is that as the strike continues, no new shows will be created for the 2008-2009 season, therefore killing the pilot season and up-fronts, which will drain the studios of advertising dollars. We could easily be looking at no new episodes from our favorite shows until this time next year. \nEven the good news hasn't been that good. The late-night shows, which went dark as soon as the strike began, returned two weeks ago, but have struggled without writers. David Letterman and Craig Ferguson's shows returned with writers due to Letterman's deal with the WGA, but it gives them an unfair advantage against everyone else.\nThe season's award shows are also becoming casualties of the WGA's lack of support for them and the actors' refusals to show up. The Golden Globes became a press conference, and the same could happen to the Oscars as well.\nFans won't see much effect on the film industry until sometime in 2009, because completed scripts have piled up, but it's possible that terrible scripts which have been on the shelf for a while will get produced out of necessity. \nWhat can we do?\nAside from sending pencils to the studios in recognition of support for the WGA, it seems to me that fans have three options once the scripted shows end in the spring: Pray George Clooney's new strike-breaking task force works, stock up on TV shows on DVD or actually go outside and do something active. I've said this before and I'll continue saying it -- WGA, studios: Please don't let it come to that.
An angry judge doubled O.J. Simpson’s bail to $250,000 on Wednesday for violating terms of his original bail by attempting to contact a co-defendant in the armed robbery case against him.\nSimpson, clad in jail attire, grimaced as the amount was announced and meekly acknowledged that he understood.\n“I don’t know Mr. Simpson what the heck you were thinking – or maybe that’s the problem –you weren’t,” District Judge Jackie Glass told Simpson during the hearing.\n“I don’t know if it’s just arrogance. I don’t know if it’s ignorance. But you’ve been locked up at the Clark County Detention Center since Friday because of arrogance or ignorance – or both.”\nGlass said that the order to not contact other defendants was clear and she warned that if anything else happened Simpson would be locked up. She warned him against contacting anyone else in the case, and barred him from leaving the country.\nSimpson’s attorney, Yale Galanter, said he did not know how long it would take for Simpson to post bail, but it could be a few days. Tom Scotto, a Simpson friend who owns an auto repair shop in Florida, said he and several other people were trying to get him freed by the end of the day.\nThe former football star was picked up Friday in Florida by his bail bondsman, Miguel Pereira of You Ring We Spring, and was brought back to Nevada for violating terms of his release.\nThe district attorney charged that Simpson left an expletive-laced phone message Nov. 16, telling Pereira to tell co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart how upset Simpson was about testimony during their preliminary hearing.\n“I just want, want C.J. to know that ... I’m tired of this (expletive),” Simpson was quoted as saying. “Fed up with (expletives) changing what they told me. All right?”
Sick and tired of talk about his stomach bug, Roger Federer wanted to show he was in Grand Slam form.\nHe left nobody in doubt.\nThe man who has had the No. 1 ranking just about glued to him for almost four years began his bid for a third straight Australian Open title Tuesday by doing something he had never done at Melbourne Park.\nHe opened the season’s first major without dropping a game in the first set at Rod Laver Arena, beating Argentina’s Diego Hartfield 6-0, 6-3, 6-0. In eight previous trips to Melbourne, he had never swept the opening set.\nFederer has not played a competitive match in two months. He withdrew from the Kooyong exhibition last week after being told by doctors he had food poisoning, causing speculation about his fitness.\n“I could have maybe played on Saturday, but I didn’t want all the fuss – the media, analyzing my game, thinking they know best and all that,” Federer said. “I took an extra day. It’s tough, but I played a couple of sets out here the last few days and it’s paid off.”\nUnable to get his usual fine-tuning done at Kooyong, Federer had to settle for doing it in real time. He tested his entire arsenal, mixing his powerful backhands and forehands with some rushes to the net, and alternating serves wide and down the line on the new blue surface.\n“Everything was working perfectly,” said Federer, who is 26-1 in the last four Australian Opens and has figured in the last 10 Grand Slam finals. “I never expect a result this extreme obviously, but I was playing well in practice, moving well, serving well, and conditions were perfect.”\nJust before Federer went on court, things turned violent among spectators during a match between Greece’s Konstantinos Economidis and seventh-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, last year’s losing finalist.\nTournament officials said play was interrupted for five minutes while police subdued three people with pepper spray. Five were evicted and banned from the venue for at least 24 hours.\nWimbledon champion Venus Williams played her first match in three years at the Australian Open. She downed China’s Yan Zi 6-2, 7-5 but hit 29 unforced errors and only 19 winners.\n“Errors happen,” Williams said. “That’s tennis.”\nShe was a first-round loser in 2006 and missed last year because of injuries, watching from a distance when sister Serena made a stunning run to the title.\nSerena Williams, unseeded and ranked No. 81 when she beat top-seeded Maria Sharapova in last year’s final, plays Wednesday in the second round against China’s Yuan Meng.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is already feeling the pressure, and the season hasn’t even started.\nAs his winless streak nears two years, NASCAR’s most popular driver knows he must produce in his new Hendrick Motorsports ride.\nAnxious about the new job and the pressure of driving for the elite team, Earnhardt showed up a week early at preseason testing just to talk to his new teammates.\nBack this week to actually drive his No. 88 Chevrolet, Earnhardt went right to work. His single lap speed of 185.820 mph on Tuesday morning easily bettered the mark of 184.782 mph set by teammate Jimmie Johnson in last week’s session, and Earnhardt was 10th fastest when drafting began in the afternoon.\n“I just like running up front every week,” he said. “I like going to the racetrack and being ... toward the top of the chart, at least on the left side of the page in practices.”\nIt’s a good start to a fresh season, one without the drama that engulfed him last year when he publicly sparred with his stepmother Teresa. His unhappiness was painfully evident this time last year, when he used his media availability session at testing to reveal their relationship “ain’t no bed of roses” and said contract negotiations with Dale Earnhardt Inc. were tense.\nFour months later, he decided to leave his late father’s company and embarked on the most frenzied free agency in NASCAR history. Courted by just about every car owner in the industry, he settled on Hendrick in June and anxiously awaited switching teams.\nNow that he’s officially a Hendrick driver, he knows the expectations are immense. Hendrick drivers won 18 of 36 races last season, and Johnson is the two-time defending \nCup champion.\nEarnhardt, meanwhile, hasn’t won since May 6, 2006 in Richmond, a span of 46 races.\n“There’s a little bit less pressure in certain areas and more pressure in other areas,” he said. “I didn’t have to worry about job security when I was over at my other job, but I’ve got to worry about that now. I think if I do what I’ve been doing, I should be fine. But with being the son of the guy who built the place, you can get away with a few more things than most guys could.”\nThe expectations clearly exist, though, and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. did his part to pile on by predicting Monday the team will win four races this season. He didn’t back off the number when pressed Tuesday, either.\n“You try to find a realistic number because too many people try to get you to make predictions and want you to say ‘We’re gonna win 11, or we can for sure get 10,’” Eury said. “But four should be simple. I mean, I look at how competitive we ran last year – and things happened – and if we close out them deals this year, we should be able to win four races easily.”\nEarnhardt refused to play the prediction game.\n“I don’t want to sit here and guess how many races we’ll win,” he said. “We’ll win some races, and I expect to win soon. I’m a good driver with a good team, and if we don’t make mistakes on a Sunday we should have great finishes and win some races.”\nAll of that has allowed Earnhardt and Eury to relax a bit after a stressful 2007 that saw them fighting to stay focused amid all the drama that surrounded their exit from DEI. The team failed to make the Chase, which ultimately freed Eury to go to Hendrick before the season ended but still led to a disappointing departure.\nNow, with a clean slate, both driver and crew chief are excited for the season to start next month.\n“I am 10 times happier,” Eury said. “And you can see it on Dale Jr.’s face. He’s more pumped up than ever. He’s pumped up to be down here, and the main sign was he showed up last week at the test. He used to never want to be at the race track, and this year he’s down here hanging out with the guys and his teammates.\n“We really just can’t wait to get rolling.”
When the Indianapolis Colts fueled my desire to take up base-jumping Sunday, I needed to try to find my happy place again. The weather is cold, my class load is growing and a Colts-less NFL playoff season makes me want to go into hibernation. If there is one thing I have learned about sports, it’s that hope springs eternal. \nFor this sports fan, IU has reinvigorated me. This winter, several Hoosier teams are off to great starts. The IU women’s basketball team is ahead of in-state rival and perennial conference powerhouse Purdue in the Big Ten. The wrestling team put up impressive performances on a national stage and a young freshman, Bloomington native Kurt Kinser, is on pace to shatter the school record for most pins in a season. Did I mention the men’s basketball team is ranked No. 9 in the nation?\nYes, IU sports are having a winter to remember. What could possibly dampen our spirits?\nThe New England Patriots. The team is on a tear of historic proportions and has a chance to become the first undefeated team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins went 17-0. On a grander scale, if the Patriots win the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, it will be the most impressive undefeated season, excluding college football, since the 1975-1976 IU men’s basketball team went a single season without losing a game.\nThis is a pretty outlandish argument, but I take pride in my school being the last Division I team to run the table. Every year in college basketball, one or two teams challenge the mark early in the season only to falter and fail. It has become too difficult to go undefeated in any sport because good competition has leveled the playing field. That’s why what Bobby Knight and the ’76 Hoosiers did is so special.\nMany of us who grew up Hoosier fans watched games with our dads and remember hearing them spout off stories about the ’76 team when Scott May was hitting jumpers from the elbow and Coach Knight roamed the sidelines engaged as if in war (hence his nickname “The General”). Just talking about the Hoosier glory gives me goose bumps. I wish I could have witnessed the magic. \nBeyond going 32-0, the Hoosiers beat the 1972 Soviet Union Olympic championship team in Indianapolis by a whopping 16 points. They also became the first team to be ranked No. 1 wire-to-wire for the entire duration of a season. Many claim they would have gone undefeated two years in a row, but May broke his arm the previous season. IU only faltered once in the 1974-1975 season, a 92-90 loss to Kentucky in the Elite Eight that left the Hoosiers 31-1.\nWith the undefeated season, the Hoosiers gave IU and Bloomington something to be proud of. \nBut the title of most impressive undefeated season is under attack by the hated Patriots. I beg you to root against New England at all costs. The Patriots are approaching sacred ground that no one has been able to walk in men’s sports since the ’76 IU team. \nFor Knight’s sake, I hope one of the three teams left in the NFL playoffs is tough enough to stick its foot out and trip the Patriots.
WASHINGTON – Concerns about Barry Bonds’ personal trainer should have been reported by the San Francisco Giants to Major League Baseball, commissioner Bud Selig told Congress on Tuesday during a hearing about the sport’s steroids era.\nEven though no players were present, unlike the theatrical session in the same wood-paneled room in March 2005, the names of career home run leader Bonds, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada all were raised during the 4-hour, 15-minute proceedings prompted by last month’s Mitchell Report.\nSelig and union leader Donald Fehr sat side-by-side before a House committee friendlier in tone than three years ago, yet still concerned about how serious baseball is in dealing with its doping problem.\nCommittee chairman Henry Waxman opened the proceedings by calling on the Justice Department to look into whether Tejada lied to committee staffers when questioned in connection to Rafael Palmeiro’s perjury case.\nLater, he asked Selig whether the Giants should have reported their concerns about Bonds’ trainer, Greg Anderson, and the slugger’s alleged steroid use to the commissioner’s office.\n“Of course,” Selig responded.\nPressed by Waxman about whether Giants general manager Brian Sabean violated baseball rules by not doing so, Selig said the matter was under review, hinting that Sabean or other team officials could face discipline.\nEarly in the hearing, Waxman turned the focus to former Senate majority leader George Mitchell’s report on baseball’s steroids era.\n“The illegal use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs was pervasive for more than a decade, Major League Baseball was slow and ineffective in responding to the scandal and the use of human growth hormone has been rising,” said Waxman, a California Democrat.\n“The Mitchell Report also makes it clear that everyone in baseball is responsible: the owners, the commissioner, the union and the players.”\nAfter Mitchell’s two-hour appearance, Selig and Fehr went before the panel. Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings said to Selig and Fehr: “This scandal happened under your watch. I want that to sink in. It did. Do you accept responsibility for this scandal or do you think there was nothing you could do to prevent it?”\nFehr paused for several \nseconds.\n“Did we or did I appreciate the depth of the problem? ... The answer is ‘No,’” Fehr replied. “It’s a failure that we didn’t and it’s a failure that I didn’t.”\nSelig then followed, starting by saying he’s agonized over the question.\n“Do I wish we could have reacted quicker? Should we have? One could make the case,” the commissioner said. “All of us have to take responsibility, starting with me.”
The last of the unbeatens are 1-2-3 in the top 25 – again.\nNorth Carolina, Memphis and Kansas, the only Division I teams yet to lose this season, were the top teams in The Associated Press college basketball poll for a seventh straight week Monday.\nFollowing its 62-58 victory over Illinois Sunday night, IU (14-1) moved up to No. 9 in the poll, its highest ranking of the season.\nNorth Carolina (17-0), which beat North Carolina-Asheville and North Carolina State last week, kept the No. 1 ranking it has held since the preseason poll. The Tar Heels received 45 first-place votes and 1,765 points from the 72-member national media panel.\nMemphis (15-0) beat East Carolina and Marshall in its first two Conference USA games last week and the Tigers were No. 1 on 24 ballots and had 1,739 points.\nKansas (16-0), which defeated Loyola (Md.) and Nebraska last week, received three first-place votes.\nThree teams lost for the first time last week – Washington State, Vanderbilt and Mississippi – and each dropped at least two places in the poll.\nUCLA, which downed Washington State 81-74 on Saturday, moved up one spot to fourth and was followed by Georgetown, Tennessee, Duke, Washington State, IU and Texas A&M.\nMichigan State, which lost 43-36 to Iowa, dropped five spots to 11th and was followed by Butler, Marquette, Dayton, Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Texas and Xavier.\nThe last five ranked teams were Miami, Arizona State, Rhode Island, Clemson and Villanova.\nArizona State (13-2) moved into the rankings on a nine-game winning streak that includes a 3-0 start in the Pac-10. It is only the third time in their 30 years in the conference the Sun Devils have started 3-0 and the first time since 1987-88.\nThe Sun Devils lost their season opener, 77-54 to Illinois at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, and their other loss was in their only true road game of the season, 62-47 at Nebraska. The most impressive wins have been over Xavier, Oregon and Arizona, a 64-59 overtime victory last week.\nArizona State is 11-0 at home this season after finishing 7-11 there last season, coach Herb Sendek’s first in Tempe. The three conference home wins are one-third the total the Sun Devils had in the previous four seasons.\nFreshman James Harden, Arizona State’s first McDonald’s All-American since 1984, leads the Sun Devils in scoring (18.2) and is shooting 54.9 percent from the field, including 44.7 from 3-point range. Arizona State heads to Northern California this week for games against California and Stanford.\nStanford (13-3) dropped out from No. 23 after beating Oregon State 66-46 and losing 71-66 to Oregon last week. The Cardinal were ranked in the preseason poll and the first of the regular season, then fell out for six weeks before returning the past two weeks.
All his life, Oscar Pistorius has confronted obstacles. The double-amputee sprinter from South Africa now faces another one – a decision barring him from the Olympics.\nTrack and field’s governing body ruled Monday he is ineligible to compete this summer in Beijing – or any other sanctioned able-bodied competitions – because his “Cheetah” racing blades are “technical aids” that give him a clear advantage.\n“An athlete using this prosthetic blade has a demonstrable mechanical advantage (more than 30 percent) when compared to someone not using the blade,” the International Association of Athletics Federations said.\nPistorius had long learned not to consider his artificial legs a hindrance, even refusing to park his car in a spot for \nthe disabled.\nHis manager, Peet Van Zyl, called the IAAF ruling a “huge blow.” Van Zyl spoke briefly with Pistorius, saying he “could hear from his voice that he \nis disappointed.”\n“He has been competing in South African able-bodied competition for the past three years,” Van Zyl said. “At this stage it looks like he is out of any able-bodied event.”
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - Johnny Podres, who pitched the Brooklyn Dodgers to their only World Series title in 1955, died Sunday at the age of 75.\nA spokesman for Glens Falls Hospital confirmed Podres’ death but said he didn’t know any details.\nThe left-hander pitched in four All-Star games and was the first Most Valuable Player in World Series history. He became a hero to every baseball fan in Brooklyn when the Dodgers ended decades of frustration by beating the Yankees to win the World Series.\nIt was the first time a team had won a best-of-seven World Series after losing the first two games, and it was Brooklyn’s only World Series victory. The Dodgers moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.\nThe Dodgers lost the first two games of at Yankee Stadium, then won the third 8-3 at Ebbets Field. Podres, going the distance on his 23rd birthday, scattered seven hits.\nIn the climactic seventh game, at Yankee Stadium, Podres shut out New York 2-0 on eight hits, relying on his fastball and a deceptive changeup.\nAs the story goes, Podres told his teammates to get him just one run and the Dodgers would win Game Seven. They got him two, and the franchise celebrated its first and only championship while playing in Brooklyn.\nYears later, Podres was uncertain he made such a brash statement.\n“I don’t know if I said it or not. That’s what they said I said,” a grinning Podres recalled in 2005. “Probably young and dumb – something like that would haunt you your whole life. ... You put on a big league uniform, you’ve got to think you’re pretty good.”\nTommy Byrne, the losing pitcher in that game, died Dec. 20.
Roger Clemens’ lawyer wouldn’t commit Sunday to having the pitcher give a deposition to congressional investigators, even as he said the seven-time Cy Young Award winner remains willing to testify in open session before a House committee investigating denials that he used performance-enhancing drugs.\nClemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin, was likely to meet this week with staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which has asked him to testify Feb. 13 along with his accuser, former trainer Brian McNamee. The committee wants to take depositions from the pair along with Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, former Yankee Chuck Knoblauch and Kirk Radomski, the former Mets clubhouse attendant who has admitted supplying players with steroids and human growth hormone.\nHardin wouldn’t directly answer questions about a deposition.\n“There has been absolutely no change in Roger’s willingness and indeed desire to testify under oath before Congress in a public hearing at a date of the Oversight Committee’s choosing,” Hardin said in a statement. “Any suggestion that he or we are having any second thoughts about that is absolutely false. All other pre-appearance issues and scheduling we will discuss privately with the committee and do not think it is appropriate to discuss those matters publicly.”\nMcNamee told baseball drugs investigator George Mitchell that he injected Clemens with steroids and HGH in 1998, 2000 and 2001, allegations the pitcher denies.\nESPN.com, citing an unidentified individual familiar with the inquiry, reported Hardin is hedging on whether Clemens will give a deposition because it could interfere with the defamation suit Clemens filed against McNamee on Jan. 6. The individual also said Hardin might not give the committee the recording of a Dec. 12 interview involving McNamee and Clemens’ investigators.\n“This backtracking by Hardin is indicative of him getting cold feet. Roger will never testify,” said Richard Emery, one of McNamee’s lawyers. “Now we’re seeing his true colors being revealed, that he’s refusing to go before Congress and do that by trying to put it off.”\nA deposition allows staff lawyers for the committee time to push witnesses on points in ways congressmen often don’t. Any inconsistencies the deposition and later testimony during a hearing could be exposed.\n“He has no choice in the matter if he’s subpoenaed,” Emery said.\nMcNamee’s lawyers keep hinting there is additional evidence to back his account but won’t go into details.\n“We’ve always said there will be clear corroboration,” Emery said. “Clear corroboration exists. And I won’t say anything more.”\nIn the opener of Congress’ baseball/steroids doubleheader, commissioner Bud Selig, union head Donald Fehr and Mitchell are to testify before the committee on Tuesday. Mitchell has refused to release most of the evidence supporting his report, saying that decision was up to Major League Baseball and others who supplied evidence to him.\nA former Senate majority leader and current Boston Red Sox director, Mitchell made 20 recommendations in his Dec. 13 report. Selig has adopted many but others are subject to collective bargaining, such as Mitchell’s call for drug testing to be moved to an independent body.\nPlayers have complained that Mitchell had no standard of evidence for what he printed in the report. Clemens angrily was upset that he has been presumed guilty.\nFehr said the issue goes beyond that.\n“Once the report issues, there’s going to be a natural tendency for people to treat it as accurate merely because it issued and that is without any sort of the normal process you would have,” Fehr said. “The whole premise of drug-testing is that you are presumed guilty unless you are proved innocent, and that is fairly inconsistent with normal modes of jurisprudence, but that’s what we have.”
It has been a little more than a week and a half since the IU women’s basketball team lost a gritty, defensive battle with rival Purdue. The Hoosiers didn’t have to wait long for a second chance, and they will get it tonight. \nThe two teams will take the court again tonight at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette in a matchup that marks Big Ten game No. 5 for both the Hoosiers (9-7, 2-2) and the Boilermakers (7-8, 3-1). The game marks the second and final regular-season contest between the in-state rivals. \nIn their last meeting, the Boilermakers rode 15 strong points from Lakisha Freeman to win their fourth straight game in the rivalry. IU got 17 points from junior forward Amber Jackson, and junior guard/forward Kim Roberson added 12 points and eight rebounds. \nIn the last game, sophomore guard Jamie Braun – IU’s leading scorer this season with 14.3 points per game – struggled, scoring just one point. \nAfter that game, IU coach Felisha Legette-Jack told the media that Braun will not have many more games like that, and so far, Braun appears to be proving her right. The Marshfield, Wis., native is coming off a season-best performance against Ohio State – a game which saw her score 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field. She also scored 19 against Illinois in the Hoosiers 70-62 home win. Both scores were team highs. \nLeading Purdue this year are Freeman and center Danielle Campbell, who average 13.3 and 12.1 points per game, respectively. Campbell also leads Purdue on the glass, averaging 7.9 rebounds per game. \nThe Hoosiers will look to break their losing streak against their rivals on the Wabash river. The last time an IU team beat Purdue came on Feb. 19, 2006 in West Lafayette. The IU coach at that time – Sharon Versyp – now resides on the opposing bench at Mackey Arena, where she moved following the 2005-2006 season, her only year in Bloomington.