News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 6, 2011

RAMBLIN' RECK: No dearth of good basketball

Tom Reck
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Based on early games, the college basketball season is going to be very interesting for coaches, players and fans, particularly in the Big Ten and Missouri Valley.

Teams in both league have won some nice games so far in non-conference action.

Three teams still are unbeaten in the Big Ten and two more have one defeat, with the league’s overall mark being 79-19.

The Big Ten was an 8-4 winner in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Ohio State was impressive in its thumping of Duke while Wisconsin was one of the losers but gave North Carolina all it wanted in a road game.

Indiana and Illinois are two of the 8-0 teams. IU looked good in winning at North Carolina State and the Illinois was a winner at Maryland and knocked off a ranked Gonzaga team last week with Bruce Weber winning his 200th game at Illinois.

The Hoosiers face No. 1 Kentucky in one of the top games slated this week.

Robinson, Ill., sophomore Meyers Leonard has looked good for the Illini while Cody Zeller is off to an auspicious start in his freshman season for the Hoosiers.

OSU definitely appears to be the No. 1 team in the league while several teams figure to battle it out for spots in the upper division.

Purdue is one of them in spite of losing two games, blowing a big lead against Xavier last week as Robbie Hummel spent some time on the sidelines with what were described as cramps.

Minnesota is 8-1, losing to Dayton in the Old Spice Classic. The Gophers lost leading scorer and rebounder Trevor Mbatwe, probably for the season, in that Dayton game.

Missouri Valley teams are 46-23 in games played through Sunday. Creighton is 7-0 and Northern Iowa 7-1 to lead the league while Indiana State and Missouri State both have lost twice.

The Bluejays have had victories over ranked San Diego State, Iowa and Nebraska, continuing its mastery over their state rivals now in the Big Ten. Wichita State is 5-2 after handing ranked UNLV its first defeat on Sunday with Joe Ragland hitting eight 3-pointers and scoring 31 points in the 89-70 victory.

One of UNI’s victories was over Iowa State while ISU had victories over Texas Tech and Fairfield in the Old Spice Classic.

All of the Big Ten teams have winning records while Bradley (3-4) and Southern Illinois (1-3) have losing marks in the Valley.

• Leaders in the Valley — Several high school football players finished in the top 10 in the final Indiana stats.

Austin Karazsia of Linton was first in passing with 244 of 361 passes for 3,467 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Rob Gibson of South  Putnam was fifth in rushing with 2,092 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Dante Rehmel of North Central tied for sixth in solo tackles with 106 while Ethan Lannan of Linton and Jake Lear of Rockville tied for third in tackles for loss with 24.

Justin Bumgartner of South Putnam tied for second in interceptions with eight and Hayden Stuckwisch of Greencastle was seventh with seven.

• Tom-Cattin’ It — One of the top high school girls basketball games should be Terre Haute’s game at Sullivan on Thursday.

The Arrows are 6-0 after beating North Central last week. Thursday’s game will match Sullivan’s Rhagen Smith against Nicole Anderson of North.

• Carmel moved to No. 8 in the USA Today national prep football poll last week. The Greyhounds also were No. 1 in the Midwest Region, with Warren Central sixth and Indianapolis Cathedral 10th.

• Our wishes of sympathy go to the families of George Oberle and Frank Clift.

Oberle was a former member of the HPER faculty at Indiana State and was a strong backer of Special Olympics.

Clift was a longtime coach at State High and played in lots of golf tournaments.

• Columbus East quarterback Gunner Kiel is the Indiana Gatorade football player of the year.

• The Sagarin football rankings published in USA Today last week were interesting.

Indiana was 142 and ISU was 117.

Some other teams and their rankings include Illinois 55, North Dakota State 61, Northern Iowa 65, Purdue 72, Western Kentucky 101, Ball State 102, Illinois State 110, Youngstown State 121, South Dakota State 140, Southern Illinois 150, Missouri State 165, Western Illinois  184 and Eastern Illinois 202.

• Officials have announced that Madonna will be the featured entertainment at halftime of the Super Bowl to be played in Indianapolis next year. Fans definitely have had mixed reaction to the announcement.

• UCLA and Illinois are matched in the Fight Hunger Bowl, which could be called Bye Bye Coach Bowl since both coaches will not be with those teams next year.

Now you know.


Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.