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CQ MAILBAG: Bracket help, new athletic director, and more

Your questions, answered poorly

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Wow! You had a lot of questions! So many questions that I had to bag a few for later. We’ll get to those next time.

First, I just want to thank you all for the warm welcome. Moving into this space has been pretty exciting, and I’m really thankful to be joined by a great team of writers, Auston Matricardi and Andy Wittry. Your kind words and continued engagement with the site mean a lot, so thank you.


Would you rather fight 10 Romeo Langford sized Tom Creans or 100 Tom Crean sized Romeo Langfords?

— SidelinesSports.Net (@Sidelines_SN) March 26, 2020

To be honest, I have no desire to fight either of these Hoosier legends, even in their reimagined forms. I happen to like both of them very much — for very different reasons — and, just in general, my nature is to run from physical confrontations, not engage in them. But for the purposes of this mailbag, let’s entertain the question. I would probably choose to battle the 100 Crean-sized Romeos. Although any shot they took at me from within 15 feet would probably be accurate, I could pick them off one by one because they likely wouldn’t work well as a team. Then again, the 10 Romeo-sized Creans would have skin so thin that a simple flurry of tweets could spell their demise. Also, just for the record, Tom Crean is jacked. Like, genuinely jacked, and I know that if push actually came to shove, he would flip me upside down and dunk my head in a toilet so severely that I would have no choice but to resign from CQ in shame, a sopping wet mess.

let’s say you were tasked with winning a ncaa bracket pool. if you lose, you die. the catch: you have to choose one sesame street character to make your picks.
who’s filling out your bracket, and why?

— Kyle Cajero (@kylecajero) March 26, 2020

There’s only one Sesame Street monster who knows hoops. It’s Grover, a personal friend of Vince Carter. I briefly considered Murray Monster, a former reporter for ESSN (Ernie’s Sports Show News). Unfortunately, Murray Monster is an absolute dumbass and a character so terrible he was booted from the show. He’s now in Muppet Hell, where he belongs. So it’s Grover. I still don’t feel very good about my chances of survival, but at least he has contacts in the basketball community and, what I assume, is a working knowledge of the game, unlike, apparently, Sesame Street’s version of Joe Lunardi.

@GoodmanHoops is keeping a close eye on the transfer market, but IU hasn’t shown up at all in any of his discussions of possible landing spots for top transfers. Do you expect we’ll add anybody before the season? Adding a reclassified Lander and losing DA leaves 1 scholy, I think

— Patrick Maley (@PatrickJMaley) March 26, 2020

I believe your math is correct, yes. I do think IU adds a transfer in the coming months, but I should also disclose that I have no current intel. It will, of course, be worth monitoring the NCAA’s upcoming vote on the one-time transfer exemption, which may not come until this summer. Its passage will open up the possibility of adding a non-graduate, which could make things very interesting for Archie Miller.

Which player from the Crean era would you most want to bring back for the 2020-21 season?

— Cade Madson (@cmadson23) March 26, 2020

I caught myself thinking my way into a mental pretzel over this. For the sake of argument, let’s just assume that the Zellers, Oladipos and Ferrells of this era have gone apple picking in Upstate New York and are unavailable to play basketball for the Hoosiers next season. IU’s most glaring need is obvious: The Hoosiers need a shooter. Easy. Nothing to it. Then another quality came to mind — toughness. That’s how I came to consider Will Sheehey. He’s someone who would be willing to stir the pot, push guys to be accountable and just generally get opposing fan bases riled up in a way few Hoosiers could. And yet, the more I thought about it, the more I believe someone with Sheehey’s profile would fit better on a more experienced team, or at least one with more established roles and expectations. One of the (many) things that made those Crean teams in the 2011 to 2013 range so special was this sense among them that they had endured the growing pains together and emerged better for it. Those guys were forced to eat the trash for a couple years before they were (and could be) good, and I think the camaraderie built through such a uniquely specific shared experience probably propelled them more than people might think. Sheehey was a perfect supporting cast member in those years, and one of the best — for lack of a better term — second tier players of the Crean era. But the more I thought about it, the more I think he wouldn’t be the right plug-and-play guy on a team such as the one IU currently projects to have next winter. Instead, I’m going to make this easier on myself. We really don’t have to overthink this. Put Jordan Hulls next to Rob Phinisee and watch the offense open up. It’d work on a few levels, No. 1 being that IU needs someone — anyone — who can knock down shots on a consistent basis. That’s obvious. It’d also allow Al Durham to come off the bench and help Khristian Lander adapt to college ball at a pace more conducive to his development, at least early on. To me, more Jordan Hulls is the solution to just about any and every question when it comes to IU basketball. So that’s my final answer.

@doctorhoosier asks:

“Mike, what is the best cocktail that requires only the ingredients I’m likely to have in my house to pair with my weekend quarantine shirt?”

My Weekend Shirt is getting a lot of use these days. That’s partly because my contract requires that I wear it at all times inside the CQ paragraph factory. Wearing the Weekend Shirt is one of the few things I can do to put my mind at ease against the current backdrop of … umm … everything that is happening in the world. It reminds me of better times, particularly long afternoons of listening to ballgames and manning the grill. Hopefully, we can get back there soon.

If your supply stash is running low — and whose hasn’t at various points in the past couple weeks? — I suggest a Barkeep’s Breakfast because it calls for all the things I’m likely to have available in my home: whiskey, orange juice, tea and honey. Here’s what you’ll need:

— ¼ ounce honey

— ¼ ounce fresh orange juice

— 4 ounces of Earl Grey infused rye (combine 8 oz of rye with 1 Earl Grey bag and let it sit at room temperature for about 2 or 3 hours)

Combine the juice and the honey in a mixing glass and stir, then add the infused rye, fill with ice and stir it all again. Then strain over ice. That’s it. This recipe will make a good amount of infused rye, which keeps for several months, so you’ll have a decent backup option in the fridge at all times. It should also be noted that, after all these years, I am most definitely a Screwdriver kind of guy. Sometimes vodka and OJ are just what I need. Bottoms up.

Would you like to read my conspiracy theory about how the Indy 500 has cursed the Indiana football Hoosiers

— Quarantine 2020 Animal Crossing Champ (@FireHarvard) March 26, 2020

Oh my god, yes. DM’s are open.

Is Scott Dolson as flaccid of a hire as I’m convinced it is

— Andrew Nicolini (@apdignan) March 26, 2020

I can understand the sentiment here. Really, I can. This hire likely didn’t make a splash with anyone outside of Bloomington, and a desire for new blood in the department is understandable. I’ll be honest, though. I think I like the potential in this move. First, IU’s athletic department doesn’t need a reset. Fred Glass’ forward-thinking, enthusiastic approach to managing the athletics wing makes this a much better job now than it was when he and Dolson vied for the position in 2008. I think, in time, Glass will be remembered fondly for overseeing investments in facilities, football and coaching across the board. He got things done, treated people right — you don’t have to look far in the Big Ten to see that this is not typically a default setting among ADs — and took aggressive steps toward dragging IU athletics into the modern age. Dolson was his right-hand man for a lot of these initiatives, and he’ll take over with far more experience working in a college athletic department than Glass, a lawyer by trade, had when he started. I always got the sense that Dolson is an effective administrator, and he’s had a hand in contributing to virtually every task that makes the department go. He knows — and loves — the institution, he understands how these coaches function and I think it’s also worth mentioning that during my time in Bloomington, I never heard anyone say a bad word about him. All that said, he’s going to have his work cut out for him. How will he navigate the messy ripples that are sure to come from the coronavirus crisis? Can he keep football moving on an upward trajectory, both in terms of engagement and investment? How will he manage the ongoing Archie Miller rebuild, while balancing the need for continued care for the non-revenue sports? The challenges Dolson faces aren’t entirely unique to IU. Some are, of course. But I think this is a well-earned opportunity, and it’s worth giving him a chance.

If you had 10 minutes with dan dakich how would it go

— Jack. (@BigRedMachine44) March 26, 2020

Oh, probably terrible.

DAN: “You know, when I was coach, kids didn’t CARE about the rankings. We didn’t have that crap. They played for the name on the FRONT of the jersey. These kids don’t GET IT, and that’s on the coaches.”

CQ: yes, go on. do tell.

DAN: “And all you blogger boys ever talk about is how IU needs better shooters. You don’t know crap. You just don’t. What Indiana needs is MORE CUTTERS. That’s basketball!”

CQ: you are a wise man.

does STL have a taste of india buffet equivalent

— curve flattener (@VT_Ben) March 26, 2020

No, but we do have a portrait of Taste of India’s dining room hanging in our home here. I really, really miss that place. You will not find better fries in Bloomington, or better Indian anywhere.

was The Kick...Good?

— Homefield (@HomefieldApparl) March 26, 2020

Always and forever.