Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
It’s the final week of 2011 but it is the first week of conference basketball games for most colleges, particularly those in Indiana and Illinois.
Missouri Valley Conference play begins Wednesday night for Indiana State’s men’s basketball team with a game at Drake. The Sycamores return home to face Bradley on Saturday.
Indiana takes an unbeaten record into its Big Ten Conference opener at Michigan State on Wednesday. The rejuvenated Hoosiers then return home to face preseason favorite Ohio State on Saturday and entertain Michigan in a late game on Jan. 5.
Purdue is at Iowa for its opener on Wednesday and has Illinois at home on Saturday.
Butler dropped its first Horizon League game to Valparaiso but had a nice win at Stanford last week and entertains Green Bay on Thursday and Milwaukee on Saturday in conference contests.
The ISU women commence Missouri Valley play against Evansville on Friday.
It’s not a conference game but one of the premier games on this week’s slate is Louisville at Kentucky on Saturday.
Prior to that, Kentucky has a date with Lamar, coached by Pat Knight, on Wednesday.
One of Louisville’s top players is sophomore center Gorgui Dieng, who has had five straight double-doubles. He averages 10.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Southern Indiana is off to a 9-0 start in men’s basketball. Ben Jones of Robinson, Ill., is one of the players on the roster.
• Words for the wise — Some practical New Year’s resolutions as sent to us by our regular correspondent:
“Throw out nonessential numbers including weight, age and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay them.
“Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
“Enjoy the simple things.
“Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
“Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.”
Have a Super 2012.
• Prep patter — Two players from the Wabash Valley were included among the leaders in high school basketball last week.
Tyler Talpas of Union ranked fourth in scoring with a 26.3-point average. Nick Hutcheson of Greencastle was second in rebounds with 99.
• Pete Gill, who fomerly coached boys basketball at Switz City Central, Ireland and other Indiana schools, died last week in Kentucky at the age of 82.
Pete was quite a character and guided the Ireland Spuds to sectional and regional titles in the one-class system.
• Three players from the Greater Wabash Valley were named to the Colts Academic All-Stars for high school football.
Seth Gambill of Union is an offensive lineman pick and Samuel Gould of South Putnam was tabbed at wide receiver while Hank Spencer of North Putnam was on the linebacker list.
• In the final USA Today prep football poll, Carmel was No. 8 in the country and first in the Midwest Region. Warren Central was sixth and Indianapolis Cathedral 10th in the Midwest Region.
• Some interesting boys basketball scores were noted in Friday’s roundup.
One stunner was Park Tudor 83, Indianapolis North Central 61. Yogi Ferrell and company really had a night.
In a game played Thursday, Loogootee beat rival Washington 43-33. It was the Lions’ first victory over the Hatchets at the Hatchet House since 1999.
Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-2331, by email at email@example.com or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.