John Clay's notes: Indiana's Crean likes to shake things up

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistMarch 13, 2013 

Random notes:

■ The pressure is getting to Tom Crean. In a loss at Minnesota, he was seen coaching his team to fake taking an elbow at the end of the game to try to pick up a flagrant foul. After losing to Ohio State, he had his team cut down the nets anyway for winning a share of the Big Ten title.

Last Sunday, after beating Michigan in Ann Arbor to win the title outright, Crean got into it with Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer in the post-game handshake line, telling Meyer that as a former IU assistant he had helped "wreck the program."

Crean later apologized, but it was a classless move that took away from his team's accomplishment.

■ And did you see that crazy grin on Crean's face after the verbal altercation was broken up? Yikes.

I couldn't disagree more with my friend Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News, who used the episode to argue that post-game handshakes are a silly and phony ritual that serve no purpose.

If coaches can't be gentlemen enough to shake hands after a sports event — as tennis players do, and professional golfers do and high school coaches and athletes do — then they have no business being in charge of young men in the first place.

■ I wasn't sure I was in favor of separating the boys' state tournament semifinals and finals as was done out of necessity this year. After seeing Saturday night's semifinals, much less Sunday's spectacular championship game won by Madison Central, color me a convert.

The semifinal teams get their own night to bask in the glow of being the four teams still standing. It also erases any excuses for the losers in the Sunday finals, and this year's was some finals.

■ Here's guessing the UK women bounce back and play well in the NCAA Tournament. Playing three games in three days, as Matthew Mitchell's team did in the SEC Tournament, doesn't fit the club's high-energy style. A break between games, even a one-day break, should be beneficial.

■ Former Kentucky star Brandon Knight was all but laughed at for being on the wrong end of DeAndre Jordan's massive lob dunk during a Clippers-Pistons game this week. It's a sad take on today's basketball when a player is ridiculed for doing what he was supposed to be doing, trying to stop a dunk.

■ Western Kentucky Coach Ray Harper is 8-0 in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Just sayin'.

■ If Florida International had beaten WKU in the Sun Belt finals, we would have had not one, but two Pitinos in the NCAA Tournament.

■ Judging by what Cincinnati wore in the Big East Tournament on Wednesday, those new post-season Adidas uniforms are hideous.

■ Wonder what Bill Walton has to say now that Ben Howland and UCLA ended up winning the Pac-12 outright.

■ If Ashley Judd runs for Senate, will television networks have to give Mitch McConnell equal time whenever Judd is shown in the stands at a Kentucky basketball game?

■ Fun fact: Florida is 0-5 in games decided by single digits. OK, it's a not-so-fun fact for Billy Donovan.

■ A sign of the apocalypse: Bill Belichick did a Twitter Q&A through his girlfriend Linda Holliday's account on Tuesday night. He did say that the all-time coach he'd most like to have lunch with is Paul Brown.

■ As many Kentucky fans as there are in the Dayton area, you know they are not only rooting for UK to play its way into the tournament, but into the play-in games of the tournament.

■ Fired Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley has put his Knoxville home up for sale for $2.9 million, and pictures of the home included a nude drawing hanging on the wall of the master bathroom. If only his defenses had done more stripping of opposing ball-carriers he might still be in that house.

■ Oh yeah, almost forgot, Tom Crean reportedly also had words with Aaron Craft in the handshake line after Indiana lost to Ohio State.

What's the old saying about judging a man by his handshake?

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com Twitter: @johnclayiv Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com

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