Monday, April 1, 2013

Midwest Regional Finals

Louisville won the Midwest regional going away, beating Duke 85-63, where they rallied after witnessing a gruesome injury to sixth man Kevin Ware, who fell to the court after attempting to block a shot, where he landed at such an awkward angle that his leg was broken in two places.  According to coach Rick Pitino, "The bone's 6 inches out of his leg and all he's yelling is, `Win the game, win the game. I've not seen that in my life. ... Pretty special young man."  According to Peyton Siva, "He told us countless times: 'Just go win this game for me. Just go win this game. Don't worry about me, I'm fine. Just go win this game.' I don't know how he did it. I don't know how he got strength to do it, but he told us to go out there and win."

The game as tied 42-42 at that point, where Louisville players collapsed to the floor, where four players had their heads down between their legs, laying on their knees, as if shot by a gun, where players nearly threw up.  In the arena, they never showed any replays and never made an announcement of what happened, where fans relied upon the Internet to show graphic photos of what happened. The game was delayed as Ware was placed on a stretcher and sent to a hospital in an ambulance, where he will have surgery tonight. 

After a brief series of fumbles, Pitino called time out, and Louisville went on a 17-2 run, eventually winning by over 20.  Guards Russ Smith and Peyton Siva led a full court press that placed constant pressure on Duke ball handlers, causing 10 turnovers and 9 blocked shots, creating opportunities for easy points, where in addition, Smith and Siva attacked the basket, putting constant pressure on the Duke defense, accumulated 14 fouls on their starting three guards, fouling two of them out of the game while the other accumulated 4 fouls, making them tentative defensively.       

Russ Smith was announced as the Regional all tourney player, joined by Duke players Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry, and Louisville teammates Peyton Siva and Gorgui Dieng.  

Had never been to Indianapolis before, and the downtown is filled with gargantuan modern-sized hotels, plenty of steakhouses and bars, a few restaurants, including a few chain establishments, like Starbucks, Noodles & Co, and Steak & Shake in the downtown area, where there was plenty of street population, mostly from out of towners when we were there, as Louisville is only about 2 hours away. None of us were overwhelmed by the quality of food choices, and all the hotels were overpriced, failing to offer cheaper downtown motel options that are even available in Chicago and Detroit. So from that standpoint, it's not particularly friendly.

As there were games on Friday and Sunday, Saturday was an off day to explore, where there is a huge White River park just a few hundred yards from downtown that offers a zoo and rides, including a roller coaster, also a 20 mile river walk that follows both sides of the White River. On this path, we saw a variety of wheeled objects, from bicycles for two and four, to a self-pedaled surrey with a fringe on top, where all 8 or so must pedal, to a Nordic Track in wheels, you name it, as many were for rent. The river is not spectacular, but the river walk on the zoo side offers the best view of downtown Indianapolis. There's no development along the river, while housing reaches near the edges on both sides, but a few hundred feet on each side remains vacant, collecting a lot of garbage, much of it most likely from the rising and falling river levels, but also from dog walkers and other careless people. There were crews cleaning up this area close to downtown, but not further out.

We did walk a bit of this river walk, where there were plenty of strollers and joggers, also giant limestone blocks every fifty feet or so that could be used to sit on, so anyone at any time could stop and rest, and there were a few built-in overlooks. The river itself had plenty of migrating geese and ducks, seemingly a bit early for that, but they're retreating from the warmer weather.

At the entrance to the park is a nice-sized Minor League baseball stadium, also the home of the NCAA Museum, filled with administrative offices and a 2-story museum offering vintage photos and brief commentary on all the NCAA sports, and a few of the significant historical figures in both the men's and women's college athletics. It was here we learned that football great Jim Brown was also a star lacrosse player at Syracuse in college, becoming the second leading scorer nationwide his senior year, also scoring 5 goals in an all star game. My favorite photo was a rowing exhibit, where all participants are walk-ons in college, as there are no high school programs, a sport that is brutally painful, yet excellent exercise, as every muscle in the body is tested. They practice strenuously for 2 hours beginning at 5 am, preparing for the inevitable pain of a grueling 7 minute race. The photo was a women's team where every single woman is draped over the oar, exhausted, looking dead tired, where the only one in an upright position is the oarless coxswain who yells out the instructions. The sport looks merciless, and the picture tells it all.

Our biggest surprise was the Eiteljorg Museum (www.//, which is an American Indian and Southwest art museum, featuring plenty of artists from Taos, New Mexico, including Georgia O’Keeffe and surprisingly large exhibits from Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. While the name suggests a Norwegian Whaling Museum, it's actually a very successful European-American philanthropist millionaire who took an interest in western art, where of interest is a scattering of paintings from European-American artists that became fascinated by the American West, where the majority of the exhibit are from the period of 1880's to the 1920's, but do go back to the 1820's. The Indian exhibit did an excellent job distinguishing between the various cultural differences, where the collection was so vast it would take a return trip to appreciate it more. This extraordinary museum is one of the best ever seen, and at least in my view, is the real reason to return to Indianapolis.

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