National Sports Briefs
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.ó Tom Crean couldn’t say “No” when Indiana offered him the coaching job.
He thought back to the undefeated 1976 team he watched as a child, the first coaching clinic he attended with Bob Knight, the appearance of Kent Benson in his hometown of Mount Pleasant, Mich., and the respect he had for the program.
Yes, his loyalties always seemed to be with Indiana and after his introduction Wednesday as the new coach, he’s finally a Hoosier.
“This was a heart decision,” Crean said, his voice cracking. “This was not a business decision or a legacy decision. I’d had other opportunities to walk away (from Marquette), and none of them felt like this. I’m going to miss those people a lot, but I’m excited to be here.”
Indiana fans are just as eager to have him in Bloomington.
By giving Crean an eight-year deal worth $18.24 million, an average of $2.3 million each season, the Hoosiers paid a hefty price to forget one of the darkest chapters in school history. Kelvin Sampson, who resigned amid an NCAA scandal in February, was to be paid a total of $1.1 million last year before accepting a $750,000 buyout to go away.
CHARLOTTEó The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament is making a schedule change.
CIAA commissioner Leon Kerry said Wednesday that next year’s tournament in Charlotte will likely start on Tuesday instead of Monday.
“I’m trying to maximize the time the kids are out of school, maximize the time for the fans, and give them a real bang for their buck,” Kerry said. “We have a lot of down time and I realize that.”
The schedule for the past several years had the women playing games on Monday and Tuesday and the men on Wednesday and Thursday. All four semifinal games were played on Friday, with both title games Saturday.
Kerry plans to jam more games into the middle of the week to prevent a long layoff for the women’s teams.
“I could play all the women in the morning and the men in the evening on one day and then mix it up,” Kerry said. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but it’s going to be more fan and student friendly.”
RALEIGH ó Chad LaRose scored three goals to lead Carolina past Tampa Bay, moving the Hurricanes within one win of the Southeast Division title.
Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu each had a goal and an assist, and Scott Walker also scored for Carolina, which broke a 1-all tie by scoring four straight goals.
The Hurricanes lead Washington by two points in the Southeast race with one game left. The Capitals have two games remaining.
Penguins 4, Flyers 2
PITTSBURGH ó Sidney Crosby scored twice and Evgeni Malkin netted the go-ahead goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who clinched their first division title in 10 years with a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
Devils 3, Bruins 2, SO
NEWARK, N.J. ó Zach Parise scored the only goal in a four-round shootout and New Jersey topped Boston for its third straight win.
Martin Brodeur stopped Bruins shooters Glen Metropolit, Phil Kessel, David Krejci and Marco Sturm in the first four rounds, setting up Parise’s duel with Tim Thomas.
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla.ó Andy Roddick’s winning percentage against Roger Federer could be worse.
Instead of .063, it could be .000.
Yes, Roddick has lost to his nemesis 15 times, including their past 11 meetings. And yes, Roddick has won only six of the 43 sets they’ve played.
But Roddick beat Federer once and expects to do it again, maybe even tonight. They’ll play in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open.
“It will be good,” Roddick said, and he almost sounded convincing. “I always look forward to it, and I do believe that I’ll beat him one of these times. Hopefully that will be this time around.”