by Kent Sterling
There are some weeks when there is so much to talk about in central Indiana sports that “Ahead of the Curve” with Fox 59 sports director Chris Hagan and me could go on for six hours instead of two, and our plate would still have half full.
If the Colts want to re-sign their free agents, this week is the time to do it. Next Saturday, festival seating begins for teams who want an audience with cornerback Vontae Davis, safety Antoine Bethea, punter Pat McAfee, kicker Adam Vinatieri, running back Donald Brown, and the rest. This is the window to get something done – or not. The Colts have $40 million to spend, but that could go quick if they put the $11.3 million on the table needed to franchise Davis.
The Pacers open a very challenging March in Boston tonight. They have five back-to-back pairings, 11 of their 18 games are on the road, and they aren’t exactly firing on all cylinders right now. Evan Turner is an offensive help, but will that be enough to re-energize the Pacers?
Indiana has three games remaining on their 2014 Big Ten schedule, and need to win all of them to get to 9-9 and earn a legitimate shot at an at-large NCAA bid. They won a high scoring game Thursday night against #20 Iowa despite Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh combining to score only 12 points. This Hoosiers team is unpredictable, so with its next two games at home against Ohio State and Nebraska, who’s to say that a week from today they won’t find themselves on the bubble?
Purdue is tied for last in the Big Ten, but they have shown flashes of good play. Is Matt Painter on the hot seat in West Lafayette?
Spring has sprung, at least on the calendar as February became March, and Spring Training has begun. The Cubs Kris Bryant hit a bomb in his first spring at-bat, but the Cubs lost to the Angels 15-3. Cubs fans have had their already low level of hope ratcheted south another few notches by the first four years of the Ricketts Regime combining as the worst in the history of the troubled franchise. The lovable losers are losing more while becoming less lovable.
The NFL Combine wrapped up last week, so the next two months will be filled with Mel Kiper and Todd McShay littering ESPN with their projections for the NFL Draft, which will begin May 8th.
Butler is mired in last place in their inaugural turn in the Big East, but with games against DePaul and Seton Hall, they could force the Blue Demons into the basement. Hey, when things are bad, you look for any reason to care.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer put Tim Tebow on the phone with a high school kid for eight seconds, and Ohio State self-reported the secondary violation. The NCAA will issue a small penalty, and the Buckeyes will be better for the experience.
Chris and I will talk to Evan Turner about the Pacers, the Bloomington Herald-Times Dustin Dopirak about the Hoosiers, and the great Rick Venturi about the Combine and free agency.