Notes from Final Four weekend

I have a closet full of Purdue stuff. By my count I have four football jerseys, two basketball jerseys, two hooded sweatshirts, a nice pullover fleece, and numerous T-shirts. Being at the epicenter of the Final Four this weekend means I may have to add something though. I may have to ask my Butler friends if there is still room on the bandwagon for Monday night and buy a shirt from one of the dozens of vendors on the streets of downtown.

Naturally, I have been tracking Butler through this tournament. They are a fun team to watch and I love seeing games at Hinkle Fieldhouse. I was twice asked this year to do games (vs. Siena and Ohio State) for Rush the Court Live from Hinkle. One of my fellow KHS alums, Alex Anglin, is a walk-on and the first player from Kokomo to ever reach the Final Four. This is from a program that has produced dozens of Indiana All-Stars and two Mr. Basketballs. Butler was on my final list of schools before I chose Purdue, right up there with Ball State and Bradley. In a way, I was very close to becoming a Bulldog and this blog would officially be invaded by every anti-Duke fan in the country. As it is, since Butler has no home on SBNation I'll offer this place up as a temporary forum for Butler fans.

Yesterday, I tried to remain neutral, as I wanted to support Michigan State for conference affiliation and Butler because they are so much fun to watch. I no longer have to remain neutral. I attended the Candlebox free concert last night right downtown and it was crowded with Butler and Michigan State fans. I received plenty of Boiler Ups and high fives because I was in my Purdue hat, but what got more attention was my Hickory letter jacket. I got this jacket several years ago for the column I write at Hickoryhusker.com. Everywhere I go I get a ton of compliments on it, and one time a guy tried to buy it off of me. One (very drunk) Butler fan at the concert last night loved the jacket and kept commenting on how a Butler-Purdue final would have been awesome.

Don't we all know that.

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Candlebox took us all back to 1994 for one night. With the Hickory jacket I was trying to take everyone back to 1954.

Reader A. Reynolds with the bracket Juan Moore run 4 Kramer is also a Butler fan. He (She?) will win the Hammer & Rails Bracket Challenge if Butler wins since none of the entries picked the Bulldogs. Should Duke win, our winner will be J. Egert with the jmpurdue5117 entry. Considering the vast majority of entries picked Kansas it is amazing we have a winner at all. If each of you could e-mail me so I can set up your guest entry and get you your Wooden book if you win I would appreciate it.

There is some other news this weekend, making for a mini-sort of Boilermakings.

  • Chris Kramer did not win the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award despite winning the fan voting. The award went to Da'Sean Butler, who is a very deserving opponent from earlier this season. The Secretary of Defense was named a first-team Senior All-American. I don't know if this gets him a banner in the rafters like John Wooden and the Big Dog, but it should. As noted in the FanShots, he has decided not to play football, however. Some EuroLeague team is about t get one hell of a player.
  • The baseball team has managed to draw a split so far against Minnesota. The Boilers won in 10 innings 3-2 on Friday afternoon. Tyler Spillner got a bases loaded infield single with two outs in the ninth to tie the game up. The single came off of Minnesota's Scott Matyas, who is one of the nation's best closers. Cameron Perkins had an RBI double in the 10th for the win as starter Matt Bischoff struck out 10. Saturday's second game was not as fun, however, as a 10-run second inning allowed Minnesota to cruise to a 14-5 win.
  • In spring football news there is still no official word on the status of Ralph Bolden. We all know he is at least done for the spring, and I would imagine we'll hear something more concrete after an MRI this coming week. The words, "We're preparing to play without him this fall" are never good to hear in these cases.
  • As for depth at running back, it looks like former 4-star recruit Al-Terek McBurse is the new #1 guy. We've seen some of the early withdrawals from this ATM and have been pleased. He didn't do a lot in limited time out of the backfield last year, but he was dangerous on kick returns and even took one back against IU. I think is Jared Crank can seize the fullback role we can see Dan Dierking moved back to tailback. Keith Carlos has already been moved to running back, and Justin Siller could factor in here if he returns this fall. While none of those four players has a ton of on field production yet, I like all four. We should be fine with them.
  • In other position switch news, Nick Mondek has been moved over to the offensive line. That eliminates him from the derby to replace Mike Neal.
  • I haven't said a whole lot here on the topic of NCAA expansion, but I don't feel like I have to. The NCAA is pushing it through, but I think it is absolutely retarded. Who really gives a crap if we can get in 5 more Big East teams with conference records well below .500 so they can lose in the first round? Leave the tournament as it is. If you do expand, make it a rule that you must have at least a .500 record in conference play to earn an at large bid. That opens it up for more deserving teams because no team with a losing conference record deserves an at large bid. Don't want to bitch? Then win more games or win your conference tournament. It's that simple.
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