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CBS brought Mixed Martial Arts out of the shadows and into the bright lights of prime time when “Elite XC Saturday Night Fights” made its anticipated debut on the network Saturday in Newark, N.J. The event featured 10 of the sport’s biggest names – Gina Carano, Scott Smith, Robbie Lawler – and the main attraction, Kimbo Slice. Saturday Night Fights was filled with nonstop action as the event was a huge success. I witnessed all of the action from my living room, and I’m convinced that we may be seeing the dawn of a new era in American sports.\nElite XC appears to have taken pages out of the books from World Wrestling Entertainment and boxing. Throughout the night women dancers grooved to loud music as if they were dancing at a basketball halftime show. As fighters walked out to the arena, bright lights flashed, pyrotechnics went off, and loud music blared. Each fighter showed off their own form of swagger as the made their way to the cage. All the glitz and glam appeared to be cliche, but it was all done well to keep viewers entertained in between each fight. \nThe entire event was very well done. SNF featured footage of fighters training, interviews and profiles of each fighter so fans could get to know them and form an opinion. Commentators Gus Johnson, Mauro Ranallo and MMA legend Frank Shamrock did a great job hyping up the event throughout the night and explaining the rules of MMA. \nOnce the fighting began, you could feel the intensity as each second was filled with action. The first two fights ended abruptly with remarkable technical knockouts in the first round of each fight. The third fight was between two of MMA’s top women fighters in Carano and Kaitlin Young. The two women were just as (if not more) entertaining than the men. The ladies punched, grabbed, kicked and choked each other well into the second round when Gina Carano proved to be too much for Young when she pretty much disfigured Young’s face, causing the doctor to stop the fight. In the fourth battle Scott Smith and Robbie Lawler fought late into the third round before Smith took a thumb in the eye, ending an amazing and evenly matched fight.\nThe main event featured Kimbo Slice against James Thompson. The fight was hyped all week, and it did not disappoint. Though if you were looking for another 30-second knockout by Kimbo, this fight was not for you. Kimbo was put on his back for the first time in his career nearly 20 seconds into the first round. Thompson forced the inexperienced Kimbo to fight down on the mat, where Kimbo did not have the technique, but he did have the strength and guts to overcome a minute-long choke hold. Most fighters would have tapped out long before that time. The fight, scheduled for three rounds, went well into the final round when Thompson was winning. That all changed when an exhausted Kimbo refused to be taken to the mat once again and began firing his fists or “hay-makers” as he calls them. He popped open the “alien life form that is Thompson’s left ear,” as well-put by one of the commentators referring to Thompson’s terrible-looking cauliflower ear. Blood splattered everywhere as Kimbo scored an incredible TKO after punishing Thompson with numerous punches to the head.\nElite XC’s debut on prime time was wild, intense, schocking, fun and, most of all, very entertaining. This sport is definitely not for the soft-hearted. It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever watched and I look forward to seeing more, as I’m sure MMA is on its way to being the next mainstream sport.
When Emmanuel Negedu was released on May 21 from his letter of intent by Arizona, the alarms from a number of college basketball programs sounded loudly.\nAs a rare Top 40 high school player still available in the summer, Negedu made headlines when he announced four schools he would visit in the coming weeks. That tour begins on June 3 in Bloomington, when the 6-foot-7-inch, 225-pound power forward will come to campus to meet with coach Tom Crean and his staff.\nNegedu originally signed with Arizona on Nov. 14, 10 days after Wildcat coach Lute Olson took an unexpected leave of absence from the team for the remainder of the season. The Nigerian native will look at three other schools besides IU – Georgia Tech on June 8, Tennessee on June 10 and Memphis on June 12.\nPotentially playing in the Hoosiers’ favor is Negedu’s Indiana and Bloomington ties. Despite playing high school ball at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., he was a member of the 2007-08 Indiana Elite AAU team alongside IU recruit Matt Roth. According to the team’s Web site, in 2007 they finished with an impressive 29-2 record and an average winning margin of 20.4 points per game.\nNegedu came to United States through the African Hoop Opportunities A Hope Providing an Education Foundation, a Bloomington-based organization. The foundation is designed to provide talented basketball players from a host of African countries the opportunity to come to the United States to use their skills as a means to get a U.S. education. The organization is led by founder and president Mark Adams of Bloomington. Gambia-native and new Hoosier Tijan Jobe also came to America through this program.\nNegedu expects to make his decision by the end of the month.
The clock struck midnight, ending the IU baseball team’s Cinderella run.\nThe Hoosiers fell 11-7 to rival Purdue on May 24 after fighting back from a first-round loss to Penn State by beating three teams to get to within a game of a shot at eventual tournament champion Michigan.\nA month ago the Hoosiers were in the dumps, tied for last in the Big Ten and needing a near-miracle performance just to make the conference tournament.\nIn its final regular-season series, IU swept Michigan State on the road en route to climbing into the sixth and final spot of the tournament.\nAfter day one it looked as though IU’s stay in Ann Harbor, Mich., was going to be a short one when they lost their first-round game to Penn State. But with the double-elimination setup of the tournament, the Hoosiers weren’t quite done.\nIU again picked itself up and refused to let its season end. The Hoosiers defeated Ohio State, Illinois and then Penn State with late-inning heroics from Tyler Cox.\nThe senior infielder booted a ball in the top of the ninth, allowing the go-ahead run for the Nittany Lions to score.\n“I kind of just wanted to somebody to kill me there,” he said. “I was about the lowest I could get. I just let them go up and at that time I thought that was the game.”\nCox lived, and the game wasn’t over as he blasted a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, guaranteeing IU a shot at least third place in the Big Ten, which is where the Hoosiers ended their season after losing to the Boilermakers today.\nIn their fifth game in four days, Indiana’s already depleted pitching staff finally ran out steam.\nIU surrendered 11 runs, allowing 13 hits, including three home runs to Boilermaker catch Dan Black.\nThe Hoosiers’ season record came to a halt at 31-30 with a 15-18 conference record.
INDIANAPOLIS – Local fans wanting to attend the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis may have a hard time finding tickets.\nLucas Oil Stadium will seat 73,000 for the NFL championship game, but the Colts will receive only 5 percent of that capacity for hosting the game. That means about 3,600 tickets for Colts employees, sponsors and fans.\nThat could change if the Colts make it to the big game that year. The two teams playing in the Super Bowl each receive about 17 percent of the tickets, while about 25 percent of the tickets go to the NFL.\nThose who have the opportunity to buy tickets will need lots of cash. Last year, tickets cost $700 and $900. They could approach $1,000 or more for the 2012 game.
INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Kanaan skidded out of control after a run-in with his teammate. Danica Patrick was clipped by another car just trying to get off pit road. With all those yellow flags, it was hard to get up to speed at the Indianapolis 500.\nSo when did Scott Dixon take the lead for the final time on his way to Victory Lane?\nIn the pits. During the last caution period, no less.\nSpeeding back to the track after the final round of stops, Dixon came out ahead of Vitor Meira – thanks a lot, crew – and pulled away over the final 29 laps to capture his first Indy 500 victory Sunday, holding off the Brazilian and hard-luck Marco Andretti.\nThe 27-year-old New Zealander started from the pole and stayed ahead of all the trouble, leading more laps than everyone else combined on a day when yellow was the predominant color, coming out eight times to slow up more than a third of the race.\n“I didn’t know what it felt like, but it feels pretty bloody amazing,” Dixon said after taking a traditional sip of milk.\nHe stayed patient and focused even while making 69 of the 200 laps around the 2 1/2 mile oval behind the pace car. Among those who weren’t around at the end: Kanaan, Patrick and 19-year-old Graham Rahal, the son of 1986 winner Bobby Rahal and last-place finisher in his first 500.\nDixon made the last pit stop trailing Meira, who had been out front for 12 laps after a daring move between Dixon and Ed Carpenter. But the red No. 9 car returned to the track with the lead.\n“You just thought something was going to go wrong,” Dixon said. “There were so many yellows, it was really hard to get into a rhythm.”\nStill savoring her landmark victory in Japan, Patrick failed to finish for the first time in four trips to Indy, though it wasn’t her fault. She was banged on pit road by Ryan Briscoe with 29 laps to go, breaking the left rear suspension on a car that had run in the top 10 most of the race but never challenged for the lead.\nPatrick finished 22nd and was steaming afterward. After climbing out of her helpless car, she ripped off her gloves and stomped angrily toward Briscoe’s Team Penske pits. A track security official cut her off before she could get there.\n“Probably best I didn’t get down there anyway,” Patrick said.\nEven if she’d been running at the end, it’s highly unlikely Patrick would have caught Dixon. He clearly had the fastest car on the track, just as he had throughout the month of May.\nDixon led 115 of the 200 laps and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Dan Wheldon was out front for 30 more, backing up the speed they had shown in practice and qualifications.\n“I was worried going into the race just because we had such a smooth month,” Dixon said. “It was one of those things where you’re sort of waiting for something to go wrong.”\nMaybe he was thinking back to a year ago. A sudden storm ended the race under yellow, and all Dixon could do was coast across the line behind winner Dario Franchitti.\nNo such worries this time.\n“You’re clear now,” Dixon’s spotter screamed over the radio as he cleared the last group of lapped cars with two turns to go. “Bring it home! Bring it home!”
IU coach Tom Crean has dismissed Brandon McGee from the men's basketball team. The sophomore guard averaged 1.5 points and 1.0 rebounds in 17 games as freshman last season.
The IU baseball team keeps writing chapters on the cinderalla story that is the 2008 season.\nIn ninth place and left for dead less than a month ago, the Hoosiers'' inspired late sesason play now has them one game closer to playing for a Big Ten Tournament crown.\nOn the bat of sophomore Josh Phegley, who went 4-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI, and the arm of sophomore Tyler Tufts, the Hoosiers prevailed 14-7 over the Fighting Illini. The win gives IU another shot at Penn State, who sent the Hoosiers to the loser''s bracket on the first day of tournament play. Tonight''s elimination game against the Nittany Lions will mean the end for one team''s season.\nCheck out Inside Pitch for a game wrap from the Illinois win and constant updates on the Big Ten Tournament.
INDIANAPOLIS – For some drivers, winning the Indianapolis 500 would make their career. Tony Kanaan isn’t looking for any such validation.\nGood thing, too.\nThe good-natured Brazilian has done everything except win the biggest event in American open-wheel racing.\nKanaan’s sixth-place start in Sunday’s 92nd edition of the Indy 500 will be his worst in seven races, while his finishes have included a second (in 2004), a third, a fifth and an eighth. He is the only driver who has led in each of the last six 500s.\nThat record has made Kanaan a perennial favorite to win at Indy. And he easily could have two or three victories if not for circumstances and mistakes.\nLast year, he had the strongest car in the race, leading half the rain-shortened 166-lap event. But Kanaan spun out to avoid a crashed car in front of him and wound up 12th when rain cut short any hope of a comeback just 10 laps later.\nThat was just the latest disappointment for Kanaan, who seems able to win anywhere but Indianapolis.\nThough he may not get attention like two-time Indy winner and childhood friend Helio Castroneves or fan favorite Danica Patrick, Kanaan has proven time and again he is one of the best drivers in the IRL IndyCar Series. He won the championship in 2005 and has won at least one race each of the past five seasons.\nBut don’t expect Kanaan to complain about anything as minor as having bad luck at Indy.\nAfter losing his father at a young age and spending much of his youth in poverty, Kanaan now lives in a mansion in Key Biscayne, Fla., with wife Daniele and 8-month-old son Leonardo, his pride and joy.\n“The way I got brought up, with all my difficulties, I learned how to accept facts and understand what you can and what you cannot do,” Kanaan said. “I’m not saying I’m satisfied with what I have all the time, but I think I came a long ways.\n“I achieved, I conquered; I won a championship, which I believe is far more difficult than winning one race.”\nAnd, while Kanaan acknowledges that Indy is “THE race,” he is prepared to walk away eventually without a win here, if it comes to that.\n“As long as I understand the situation I was in and understand, inside myself, that I did everything I could – I didn’t let myself down – I’m at peace with myself,” Kanaan said. “Do I want to win the 500? As bad as anybody else.\n“If I retire one day without winning the 500, I’m not going to be frustrated. It’s going to be something that was a goal that maybe, for some reason, I did not achieve. But I think we all, as human beings, have many goals that we don’t achieve. That’s why you make a priority list.
INDIANAPOLIS – Helio Castroneves has been living life at a relatively pedestrian pace since he got back behind the wheel of a race car.\nIn the months following his “Dancing With the Stars” title last November, he called off his engagement, went on a national tour with the other dancers and participated in a seemingly endless stream of interviews and appearances.\nAnd, oh yes, he has also been racing his Team Penske IndyCar.\nNow, the charismatic Brazilian with the big smile and fancy footwork is focused on his true passion – driving.\n“After the ‘Dancing’ and the tour, I couldn’t wait to get back into a race car because it slowed down (my life),” Castroneves told The Associated Press last week in his garage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Literally, the speed is going faster, but the rest of the outside stuff really slowed down a lot.”\nCastroneves said his appearance on one of America’s most popular television shows served its purpose because it brought the Indy Racing League to a new group of potential fans. He hopes some remember him and watch the Indianapolis 500 on May 25, when he tries to add to his wins in 2001 and 2002.\n“People that have no idea about racing know my name,” he said. “Probably now, they’re going to be tuning into racing. That’s what I want. It obviously helped my name, and I believe it helped this series to be out there. I think it was a win-win situation.”\nNew fans could see Castroneves join an elite group. Only three drivers – Mauri Rose in the 1940s, A.J. Foyt in the 1960s and Al Unser in the 1970s – have won three Indy 500s in a single decade.\nCastroneves has driven in seven Indy 500s, placing in the top three four times and the top 10 six times. He finished third last year, and will start fourth in the 33-car field this year.\n“I do feel I have a great car,” he said. “Inside second row is a fantastic place to start.”\nCastroneves’ popularity off the track did not cost him with die-hard fans, either. MainGate, a company that tallies merchandise sales, said last week that Castroneves’ numbers at tracks were up 68 percent from last year at the same time.\nCastroneves says none of that affects him.\n“Certainly, I got a little more exposure, but I’m still the same,” he said. “I love what I do, I enjoy being here in race cars. This is my world, and that’s what I’ve lived for all my life.”\nCastroneves, whose resume still lacks a series championship, leads the IRL points standings even though he has not won a race this year. He placed fourth in the opener at Homestead, second at St. Petersburg, second at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan and fourth at Kansas Speedway last month.\n“It’s consistency,” he said. “So far, we’ve been in the right place at the right time. I do believe this year, it’s going to take that to win the championship.”\nHe would like to balance his consistency with a few victories.\n“Yes, you do have to win as well,” he said. “Certainly, other teams seem to be a little more aggressive, but we’re right there. We just need to find a little more, and work a little more to get that win.”\nCastroneves did not wait until May to show up in Indianapolis. He and partner Julianne Hough danced between the first and second quarters of an Indiana Pacers game on Nov. 2, nearly a month before he was announced as the season five winner.\n“It was scary at first because people know me here as a race car driver,” he said. “I can’t thank enough the Indianapolis and Indiana area for the support because I received a lot of votes from here. Without those votes, I wouldn’t have been able to win.”
Tijan Jobe has signed on to be the newest recruit for the 2008-2009 season. Not to be outdone, local star Jordan Hulls will verbally commit for the 2009-2010 this afternoon.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The 2012 Super Bowl is coming to Indianapolis.\nNFL owners voted Tuesday in Atlanta to award the game to Indianapolis, picking the city over Houston and Arizona.\nIndianapolis narrowly lost out to Dallas last year in its bid for the 2011 game.\nThe city's bid emphasized the new $700 million retractable-roof Lucas Oil Stadium and its experience hosting major sporting events such as the Indianapolis 500.\n"As a Colts fan, I'm thrilled," Governor Mitch Daniels said. "As a citizen of Indiana, I'm proud. This cements our state's reputation as a sports and big events capital"
Indiana head women’s basketball coach, Felisha Legette-Jack recently announced the hiring of Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. She will join the Hoosiers June 1 after serving as an assistant coach at the University of Washington for a season.\nA native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Abrahamson-Henderson is no stranger to the Big Ten Conference. She played two seasons for Iowa after transferring from the University of Georgia, where she helped the Bulldogs earn the 1986 SEC title. At Iowa she played for the current Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer.\nAfter brief stints coaching for Duquesne University and the University of Maine, Abrahamson-Henderson served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Iowa State from 1994-2000. There she helped guide the Cyclones to three straight twenty-win seasons and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances.\nAbrahamson-Henderson earned her first head coaching job at Missouri State University. There, she led the Lady Bears to a 95-61 record in five seasons, including two regular season Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Championships and three MVC Tournament Championships. She helped hone the skills of 11 all-MVC players during her time there.\nKnown as “Coach Abe” to many of her former players, Abrahamson-Henderson is well respected for her character, intensity and competitiveness.\n“I really enjoyed playing for coach Abe,” said Tiffany Terwelp, a former player at Missouri State. “She is a great person and coach and it was sad to see her go. She is really intense and is an amazing competitor. I think it is great that she has the opportunity to move up in her coaching career and Indiana University is lucky to have her.”
As a new fan of NASCAR, I’m still making efforts to learn more about the sport. From the hard-imaged moonshiners and good ol’ boys of the past to the big-time, corporate-sponsored, fit young drivers of today, I find it all intriguing. Though Jeff Gordon is my number-one driver (yeah, I said it), Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one big-name driver I cannot ignore. Despite being winless in his last 73 races, he is the biggest name in racing as well as one of the biggest names in all of sports today. \nLong before I ever paid any attention to NASCAR, or any type of car racing for that matter, Dale Jr. was a driver who was simply inescapable. I’d sit and watch ESPN highlights where they’d show the top-ten finishers of a certain race and even if his name was nowhere to be found on that list the broadcasters would mention him anyway, saying he finished eighteenth or something. At that time, for me to even know any NASCAR driver’s name meant that he had to be a big name.\nAs one of the fresh faces of NASCAR, Dale Jr. is a role model to many people who hang on every word he says, every turn he takes, and every checkered flag he earns. For a man who has gone through some rough times, and utters almost nothing about it, he keeps a pretty even keel. From the looks of it, he’s never been one to be very open about his personal life, and I can’t say I blame him.\nDale Jr. recently opened up and spoke about his father’s death and how he dealt with it for the first time in a recent issue of ESPN The Magazine. It’s been seven years since Dale Earnhardt, Sr. endured a fatal crash going into the final turn of the 2001 Daytona 500. Dale Jr. is still dealing with his tragic loss. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that he’s never fully opened up in public about it or if the sting of losing his father is weighing heavy on him daily. I’m guessing it’s probably not the latter. \nIn the interview, Dale Jr. said that he was numb and that he just kept moving and doing things. It made him feel horrible. One might think that it would help to go to work every day and continue life as you had before, but for Dale Jr. it was a different story. Imagine losing a loved one, and then seeing their favorite shirt draped on everything everywhere you went. That’s how it was for Jr. His daddy’s signature number three was to be found everywhere he went. Even to this day I see that black number three on the bumpers and rear windows of cars and pick-up trucks. The truth is, that’s how it should be. The impact his father had on stock car racing is untouchable and should be appreciated whether you’re a race fan or not.\nA natural introvert, Dale Jr. says he cried with friends behind closed doors. No journalists, no cameras. He explained in the article how he didn’t want to disrespect others who had lost their parents by speaking out. He didn’t want to make a scene, giving the “woe is me” message.\nThen there was the tough decision to depart from the family team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., to join the prestigious Hendrick Motorsports to be faster and drive better cars. While many of his father’s true and loyal fans had become fans of Jr.’s, he did not find this move to be easy. I’m beginning to learn that much of what makes NASCAR fun is getting to know the driver’s personalities.\nI see Dale Earnhardt Jr. as an emotional man who is humble and is a leader. And leaders must be tough. Tough people make tough decisions for the better and Dale Jr. has done just that.\nEven though Dale Jr. hasn’t finished a race leading the pack on a track in two years, he has always been a leader in the hearts and minds of NASCAR fans all across the country. He will always be someone sports fans cannot ignore.
Angel Escobedo now sits one tournament title away from achieving one of his life-long dreams – shipping his skills from Bloomingotn to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics.\nEscobedo has a laundry list of accolades in the sport he has dominated from a young age. In high school, the Griffith, Ind., native won four consecutive state championships. \nLast season, the junior finished with a 34-1 record and earned himself the sport’s ‘triple crown’ – victories at the Midlands Championships, the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championships. Competing in the Olympics would only add to that list.\n“We are very proud of Angel,” IU Head Coach Duane Goldman said, in a statement. “He has always had his sights set on making an Olympic team, and for him to progress to this level already is impressive.”\nEscobedo won his Olympic Regional Trial on May 10 in Waterloo, Iowa, earning him a spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June.\nIn order to qualify for the Olympic Trials, one must have either placed in the top seven at the U.S. Senior Nationals, which were held in Las Vegas on April 28, win the USA Wrestling University National Championship or win one of the four Regionals.\nEscobedo chose the last path, and will be one of 12 competitors in the 55 kg (121-pounds) weight division vying for a shot at Olympic gold in Beijing.\n“There are no breaks for this guy,” Goldman said. “He won the NCAA Championship and has moved on to the next thing on his list. That is part of what makes him so good. I am glad that he is on our side.”\nIU assistant coach Mike Mena is grateful for the opportunity to coach such an athlete.\n“He’s a pleasure to work with,” Mena said. “He is that caliber of an athlete and a wrestler. For him to make this transition at this point of his career its something he’s prepared himself to do.” \nMena added a spot on the U.S. team could be a reality.\n“He could win the thing,” Mena said.
All 22 IU sports programs will be outfitted in adidas gear for at least the next eight years. IU signed an 8-year contract with adidas America that could also pay out more than $21 million to IU Athletics, according to recruiting database www.scout.com.\nThe deal will provide uniforms, shoes and equipment to all of IU’s NCAA athletes. It will also provide IU with officially licensed gear and clothing for sale at the IU Varsity Shop and www.iuhoosiers.com, the athletics Web site.\n“We are proud to extend our relationship with adidas,” IU Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan said in a press release. “We appreciate their willingness to provide our student-athletes and coaches with the best products to aid their development and training, as well as their financial assistance to our department.”\nIU originally signed up with adidas for the 2004-05 school year. According to an IU Athletics press release, adidas also committed to certain labor and human rights provisions, including sustainability and sweatshop rules. The agreement states that adidas will report to IU on its labor use and efforts to fight human-rights violations.\nSeveral IU coaches endorsed the deal in the press release. IU football coach Bill Lynch said he was “very happy” about the agreement, while IU men’s soccer coach Mike Freitag said the company has been part of IU soccer’s success “for over 30 years.”\nAccording to www.scout.com, IU’s contract is comparable to deals signed by the University of Nebraska and Kansas University in recent years, but is significantly smaller than the reported $60 million deal signed by the University of Michigan in 2007.
INDIANAPOLIS – Strategy was almost as important as speed Saturday as Scott Dixon won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 with a big gamble by his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team.\nDixon and teammate Dan Wheldon, who took the second spot, both took advantage of Indy’s unique qualifying format, which allows each entry up to three tries on each of the four days of time trials.\nDixon, who has three pole positions in five tries in the IRL IndyCar Series this season, got the biggest benefit of the team strategy, canceling out a four-lap average of 225.178 mph earlier in the day and making it pay off with four laps at 226.366 that held up for Ganassi’s third Indy pole.\n“I was part of that decision, so it wasn’t really a surprise,” Dixon said. “We had been out testing, so we were confident we could go much faster. The tough part came later in the day, knowing whether or not we should do a third attempt (if we got knocked off the pole).\n“One thing that was great out there, even on an average lap for us, we still had the field covered as a team. That just goes to show how strong we are this year.”\nThe New Zealander’s pole run came with just over two hours left in the session and only moments after Ryan Briscoe, the first driver to qualify Saturday, made his own gamble in an effort to give team owner Roger Penske a record 15th Indy pole. The team withdrew his earlier speed of 224.833 and Briscoe, who wound up third, put his Team Penske entry on top briefly with a run of 226.080.\nWheldon’s earlier speed of 225.840, which had held the pole briefly, was then withdrawn by his team with about 20 minutes left. The Englishman, the 2005 Indy winner, responded with a run that came up just short of his teammate at 226.110.\n“The fact of the matter is, when your cars are good and your drivers are good, it’s easy to make those calls that people say take courage,” said Ganassi, who has won the 500 with Emerson Fittipaldi in 1989 and Juan Pablo Montoya in 2000. “We’ve been playing poker here for a lot of years. Sometimes you’re holding all the aces and sometimes you’re bluffing. Just so happens that today we had a good hand.”\nTeam manager Mike Hull added, “We had a clear plan. We knew that one attempt wasn’t going to get it done. ... Truly, Chip Ganassi Racing came here to be aggressive.”\nPenske’s other driver, Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indy winner and two-time pole-winner here, had his car pulled out of the qualifying line by his team earlier in the day because of gusty winds. When the two-time Indy winner finally made his only attempt, he also came up short at 225.733, good for fourth on the busy afternoon.\n“Those (Ganassi) guys had strong cars in qualifying,” Castroneves said. “They did good. We need to work a little bit better for the race and, hopefully, we’ll be a little bit of ahead of them.”
NEW YORK – Mike D’Antoni has agreed to coach the New York Knicks, bringing his entertaining offensive style from the Phoenix Suns to a team coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history.\nThe Knicks released a statement Saturday night saying they had agreed in principle with D’Antoni and that a press conference would be held once the contract had been completed.\nD’Antoni had two years and $8.5 million left on his Phoenix contract. Suns owner Robert Sarver wouldn’t confirm that D’Antoni had taken the New York job earlier Saturday, but said, “Mike called me this morning to thank me, so I figured this was up.”\nThe offer is reportedly for $24 million over four years, making him one of the NBA’s highest-paid coaches. The Chicago Bulls also interviewed D’Antoni for their coaching job.\nMessages were left for D’Antoni and his agent, Warren LeGarie.\nD’Antoni replaces Isiah Thomas, who was fired in April after the Knicks went 23-59, tying the franchise record for losses in a season. D’Antoni will become the Knicks’ sixth different coach since the start of the 2002-03 season.\nThe 57-year-old D’Antoni led the Suns to a 55-27 record last season and was coach of the year in 2005. He had a 232-96 regular-season record the past four years, but the Suns were eliminated in the first round by San Antonio last month. The Suns then gave D’Antoni permission to pursue other openings.\n“We appreciate all of Mike’s efforts and contributions these past five years and wish him well in his next challenge,” Suns president and general manager Steve Kerr said in a statement. “We will now be methodical in the process of finding our next head coach and we’re excited about the potential candidates.”\nNew Knicks president Donnie Walsh had been looking for a coach since removing Thomas on April 18. Walsh previously met with former Knicks guard and television analyst Mark Jackson and Knicks assistant Herb Williams. But Walsh took his time to see what coaches would become available during the postseason.\nHe found one who won at least 54 games each of the last four seasons. The Knicks, meanwhile, are coming off their seventh straight losing season and haven’t won a playoff game since 2001.
After placing 18th in the NCAA East Regionals in Athens, Ga., the Hoosiers failed to advance to the National Championship for the second straight year.\nTo advance, the Hoosiers needed to finish in the top eight – something they fell 33 strokes short of doing. \nLeading the Hoosiers was sophomore Laura Nochta, who finished 55th, while fellow sophomores Anita Gahir and Kellye Belcher placed 61st and 80th, respectively. Competing in their final tournaments as Hoosiers, seniors Elaine Harris and Lauren Harling placed 76th and 80th. \nIU coach Clint Wallman said he was sad to see the seniors go but is excited for what the future holds with IU’s three returning sophomores.\n“The day really belonged to our two seniors, Lauren Harling and Elaine Harris,” Wallman said in a statement. “The end of the day comes with mixed feelings (as) we are excited about the direction the program is going, but we are sad to see our seniors leave.”\nAdvancing to the national championship was tournament winner Florida as well as top-ranked Duke, Georgia, Auburn, Virginia, South Carolina, Wake Forest and Furman.\nWinning the tournament was South Carolina’s Benedicte Toumpsin, who beat out the top-ranked golfer in the country, Duke’s Amanda Blumenherst, by a stroke.\nThe Hoosier-less National Championship will take place on May 20-23 in Albuquerque, N.M., and will feature another Indiana team as rival and sixth-ranked Purdue advanced in their regional by placing second.
The No. 38 IU men’s tennis team suffered a heartbreaker Saturday to the No. 29 Vanderbilt Commodores in a 4-3 loss on the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. \nThe disappointment ended the Hoosiers hopes of continuing their run in the NCAA tournament regional. \nAfter sweeping the doubles competition and earning the match’s first point, the Hoosiers only managed to steal two points in six singles matches.\nWith the score even after five singles matches, the outcome came down to the No. 3 singles dual between Phillip Eilers and Vanderbilt’s Vijay Paul. After dropping the first set 7-6, Eilers fought back to win the second 6-4, only to lose in the third 7-6 (7). \nThe loss moved the Hoosiers to 16-10 on the season overall. It was their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2001, and the first appearance for first-year head coach Randy Bloemendaal.\nThe No. 2 singles match finished first, as senior Dara McLoughlin lost in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. Freshman Lachlan Ferguson also went down in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.\nShortly after, senior Michael McCarthy evened the score in his three-set overtime thriller. The first two sets were decisive; Vanderbilt’s Alex Zotov took the second set 6-1 after McCarthy blew him away 6-1 in the first. Set three required overtime but in the end McCarthy pulled away with a 7-6(4) victory.\nMcCarthy sparked some momentum with his rousing victory as fellow senior Thomas Richter downed No. 53 Ryan Preston in a similar three-set overtime match. \nRichter’s hard-fought victory gave the Hoosiers a 3-2 lead with two singles matches yet to be determined.\nUnfortunately for IU, neither freshman Eilers nor Santiago Gruter were able to pull out a victory as they both fell in three sets, giving the Commodores a 4-3 win.\nThe match lasted a total of four hours and 53 minutes.
A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Why the long face?”\nLaughter explodes from other pub patrons as the horse pulls up a stool. The bartender puts a mint julep down next to her on the bar. \nShockingly, the filly neighs back at the bartender in perfect English and says, “My woeful life is going to be over by age three.”\nStunned by hearing words come out of an animal’s mouth, the bartender takes the underage horse’s drink away from her and leans in closely, offering her an ear.\n“Tell me about it,” he says.\n“I never knew my father. Humans helped knock up my mom. I came out bastardized in a broken home, where trainers and onlookers gawked at me as I ran through fields with the greatest of ease. From birth, I was fed and groomed by people, for people. I serve no purpose to my Equus caballus species. I eat, sleep and breathe for men and women who sit around all day drinking and throwing down money on where they think I’m going to finish in a race. It’s a miserable existence.”\nThe bartender dumps out a wooden bowl of beer nuts and fills it up with oats. He fills up a glass of water and extends the horse an olive branch of food and drink.\n“Oh, I recognize you!” the bartender says. “You’re Suzy Spitfire. I put 10 down on a trifecta with you, Ramblin’ Roger and Cadillac Jack. When you came around the home stretch in sixth place I thought you were done! And whattaya know, you passed three other hacks to come in third for me and my wallet! Best $260 I ever won. Where have you been this past year?”\nDejected, the horse looks back at the bartender and slams her water down onto the marble surface. As oats spill, she yells back at the man in disgust.\n“See what I mean! Do you hear yourself? I’m over here, watching my life fade away and all you can do is talk about how much money I made for you. Now, I’m losing weight to shed precious time on the track and I’m pretty sure if I get injured again I’m going to find my way into an Elmer’s container in some kindergartner’s art box.\n“Just look what happened to Eight Belles last week at the Kentucky Derby! She had an incredible run separating herself from the pack and coming in second in the first leg of the Triple Crown. On her victory lap, she shattered both of her ankles and had to be euthanized on the spot in front of 165,000 people and millions of viewers on NBC. I don’t want that to happen to me.”\nThe bartender, red-faced, swipes the spilled oats into the trash can as other barflies filter out.\n“My life boils down to this,” the horse says. “I’m born, I run and I become glue sooner or later. Whatever happened to green pastures and a clean stable? The Rolling Stones song ‘Wild Horses’ is a bunch of B.S.”\n“So you ask me why the long face. The answer is obvious – I’m bred to last a mile and a quarter; not 30 years.”