Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

 

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

“Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”James Naismith

Rumor has it that Indianapolis received some rave reviews about this year’s Final Four. And why not? Basketball rules the roost in Indiana. And Men’s Final Four weekend is a great celebration of all things basketball. Combining the two? Well, it just makes sense. Kind of like peanut butter and jelly. It’s the perfect combination.

So we spent Sunday afternoon/evening in Indy. It was not your typical Easter Sunday for us, but at least we managed to have some ham sandwiches on the way to the festivities.

#FinalFour #Indy

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We joined 3,500 other kids in a giant basketball parade, dribbling through the streets of downtown Indy. There were a few organizational speedbumps in getting the whole thing started, but that’s probably to be expected. Once we were on the road, there was nothing to stop us.

Waiting to get our dribble on. #FinalFour #FanFest #Indy

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Mihret has mad ball handling skills #FinalFour #Indy

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We also got to play around in the Fan Experience inside the Convention Center. Then we got to ride a Ferris Wheel and hear some live music. For the whole day, we spent a grand total of five bucks. And that was to park. I’m not sure you can beat that deal!

Dunk King #FinalFour #Indy #FanFest

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Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

 

Lady Antebellum. Can you tell? #FinalFour #JamFest #Indy

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It was a great day full of fun, family, and music. And walking. Lots of walking.

Not a bad way to spend your Sunday afternoon, though. We can’t wait for the Final Four to return in five years!

All Star dribblers. #FinalFour #Indy #dribble

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March and basketball go together like peanut butter and jelly

The playoffs begin for the over-30 basketball league Aug. 4 at the fitness center here. The championship game is scheduled to take place Aug. 10 at the fitness center gym here.
High school tournaments are in full swing. Student athletes are delivering heartfelt speeches on Senior Nights. Conference tournaments have started. Selection Sunday is just around the corner. Some upsets have already happened. Congratulations, Illinois State, for knocking off the Shockers today. The ball will soon be tipped for that One Shining Moment. And people are talking like coaches will gladly jump from the NBA to coach the Cream and Crimson. I think they’re dreaming, by the way. But that’s a different post for a different time. Maybe. I’m not sure I have the energy to get involved in the argument. Let’s just say that I think it’s a pretty bold assumption that it would happen.

They’re all signs that March has begun, my friends. And I can’t be any happier. This is, without a doubt, the most wonderful time of the year. I love all things about this season. And it’s even more special this year because, once again, our fair city is hosting the men’s Final Four and there are all kinds of fun festivities planned for that weekend. We’ll be there. Shoot, we might even wear some candystripes since it’s highly unlikely that our beloved Hoosiers will be wearing theirs on the court come game time that weekend.

Ah, March and basketball.

It goes together like cheese and crackers
Like socks and shoes
Like biscuits and gravy
Like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Like R2D2 and C3PO
Like peanut butter and jelly.

It’s March. And it’s full of hysteria, insanity, and wall to wall basketball. And I love every minute of it.

Because in 49 states, it’s just a game. But this is Indiana. And we love our basketball. We love it so much that I think Thursday and Friday of opening weekend should be declared a state holiday. Shoot. Let’s make it a Federal holiday. I mean, come on, it’s not like anyone with a desk job is working when these games are on. So why not go ahead and give everyone those days off so we can celebrate the greatness of college basketball in March?

Come on. You know you like the idea. It fits. Like peanut butter and jelly. Then you we can watch basketball, basketball, and more basketball.

That just might be heaven on earth. Wouldn’t it?

F is for Final Four

F is for Final Four A to Z Challenge

When I planned out my posts for the A to Z Challenge, I had a special post in mind for today’s entry. It was going to be all about how Indiana had returned to a Final Four in Atlanta and how this was so special because the program was recently in the deepest and darkest of valleys thanks to HeWhoShallNeverAgainBeNamedOnThisBlog. Now they were at the highest of mountains. That was what I was going to write.

Until Syracuse’s 2-3 zone showed up.

I’m still watching the Final Four because it’s still the most wonderful time of the year. Louisville and Wichita State are playing right now and I’m a little bit torn. I feel bad for Kevin Ware. It would be a great story if the team could “Win for Kevin.” I think it would be an even more amazing story, however, if the Shockers shocked the world and beat the Cardinals. It would also be pretty cool to be able to say that the Aces swept this year’s national champion (or runner-up).

Who are you cheering for in this year’s Final Four? Who do you think will win the championship? Is it the same team you’re cheering for?

Stevie Shoot a Three-Pointer [Flashback Friday]

After last night’s bracket-busting loss, this post might be more like pouring salt in people’s wounds, but I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head all week. And I don’t care that it screwed up my bracket. I really didn’t think my Final Four picks would happen, but the dream was fun while it lasted.

I like to think that I had a hand in getting Stevie Shoot a Three-Pointer online for the world to hear online. At the end of a post where I discussed Knight throwing the chair and how they should name the bench after him, I asked this question:

On a somewhat related note, does anyone remember a song that was played on the radio during IU’s 1987 tournament run that had the line, “Come on, Bobby Knight, throw some chairs tonight. And Stevie, shoot a three-pointer!”? I’ve looked all over for a recording of that.

Spoon replied in the comments. He had a copy. A few days later, I discovered this….

Stevie Shoot a Three Pointer

You’re welcome, Internet.

Oh. And pay no attention to those timestamps that say my conversation with Spoon happened in 2010 and this video was posted in 2008. Don’t bother me with small details like that. 😉

#83: ACCOMPLISHED

John, Christy’s brother in-law, was given tickets to Friday’s home preseason opener for the Colts as they hosted the Redskins. He couldn’t go. So he gave them to us. So…I was able to accomplish number 83 on my 101(ish) Things list!

Needless to say, Aiden was excited. He wore his Dallas Clark jersey to school with pride. It didn’t matter that it was preseason. It didn’t matter that we knew Manning wasn’t going to take a snap. He was pumped!

So was I, to be honest. Of course, I’ve been trying for years to convince him that the preseason doesn’t matter one lick. And I think he realized that. He didn’t really care about the score (which is a good thing. Colts lost 16-3 and looked much worse than the score indicated). But he yelled and cheered like it was a playoff game.

Not sure if Marshall is happy with the Colts calling themselves the Herd. Then again, I doubt Texas A&M is very happy they use the term “12th Man,” either.

The roof was open when we got there. So was the side window. I hadn’t been inside the stadium when them open like that. It was pretty cool. I still think they should open it for the Final Four. Of course, we know that will never happen.

The open window is really cool. Except when you’re going up the escalator and can’t see anything except the sky up above you. You kind of feel like you’re about to fall off the edge of the earth. And if you don’t really like heights…well…it’s not the most comforting of feelings.

They did have to close the roof and the big window during the game. I thought that wasn’t allowed during the game. Maybe they could do it because it was preseason. I don’t know. I do know, however, that watching the roof and the window close just might have been the most exciting thing the crowd watched that night. And yes, I was tempted to howl like Chewbacca as they closed the doors. Tempted. But I didn’t.

And yes. The Colts looked that bad.

Another highlight was seeing Pat Mcafee punt. Which he did a lot. And he hit a guy pretty hard on a return. Good thing, too. That guy could’ve scored. But the punter was the highlight of the game for the Colts.

Yes. They were that bad.

In spite of the on-field performance, we had a great time. And no Colts game is complete without a post-game press conference.

Think he’s channeling his inner Jim Mora?

It was a moment neither one of us will ever forget. I’m glad I got to cross it off my list. But I’m even more happy that I got to share an amazing memory with Aiden!

Fear the Horseshoe! Go Colts!

Our Final Four Picks

Not a stellar year of picking in the Todd family. Alyson’s bracket didn’t get saved, so we don’t know what her picks really were. Mihret never got the chance to pick. But we’ll definitely make sure she gets to pick hers next year. The way ours panned out this year, she’ll have no problem winning our pool in the very near future!

My Final Four (2011)
Ohio State
Duke
Notre Dame
BYU

Duke over Notre Dame

Even better? I only had one of the real Final Four teams (Kentucky, UConn, VCU, Butler) make it to the Sweet 16. I had Kentucky losing to Princeton in a first round upset (and I was oh-so-close. Too bad that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades). I did, however, have VCU upset Georgetown and Butler beat Old Dominion – neither of these were picked by the majority of the “experts.”

Aiden’s Picks
Ohio State
San Diego State
Notre Dame
BYU

Ohio State over Notre Dame

Christy’s Picks
Syracuse
Duke
Purdue
Florida

Duke over Purdue

Of course, in the Todd household, we’re pulling for Butler all the way. But with our recent track record, I doubt any of us would have the guts to say they’re going to win. I’m thinking Butler Blue II will appreciate that.

Who did you pick? Any of them still around?

Who are you cheering for in this year’s Final Four?

Oh yeah…

GO DAWGS!!

Who You Got?

Well, it’s that time again: the most wonderful time of the year!

The Todd household is furiously filling out our brackets for this year’s tournament. To his credit, Aiden is putting much more thought into this year’s picks.

Last year, I went bust thanks to the Jayhawks. Do you remember my Final Four? Here’s who I picked:

Final Four (2010)
Kansas
Butler
Kentucky
Baylor

Championship Game (2010)
Kansas over Kentucky

I only got one Final Four team right (but I was quite proud of that one Final Four team). And was nowhere close to right with the Championship Game. It seems that every year I pick them to do well, they go out early in the tournament and bust my whole bracket. And when I don’t pick them to do well, they win the whole thing. So here’s some advice for everyone: You might as well chant “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk,” because I refuse to pin my hopes on them this year.

I’m still working on my bracket. Right now it looks like this (but I don’t like it):

Final Four (2011 – Provisional)
North Carolina
San Diego State
Notre Dame
Pitt

My biggest upset?
Princeton over Kentucky in the first round. You never know. Experience vs. streaky freshmen. We’ll see….

Where have I gone wrong? Who’s in your Final Four? Convince me why I should pick yours over mine (I might easily be swayed, by the way).

I’ll post the rest of my family’s picks (and my real picks) once they’re finalized. Man, I love this time of year!

Hoosiers at Rupp

I watched the IU/UK game again this past Saturday. For 30 minutes, I thought the impossible might actually come to pass: the rebuilding Hoosiers might pull off a victory. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

That’s what happens when you don’t hit a field goal for 9 minutes during a game.

I don’t want to say that help is on the way because that discounts the efforts of the current team. And…well…that sounds too much like Mike Davis’s excuse-making in a not-so-long-ago era. They could very well be better than the experts say, but I still don’t believe they’ve “turned the corner.” They will soon, though. Very soon.

That being said, the rivalry with Kentucky is not what it should be.

http://twitter.com/#!/mattdantodd/status/13770521434914816

Of course, it doesn’t help that IU hasn’t beaten UK at Rupp since something like 1988. Of course, they did win at Rupp more recently than that. But it was against a different despised opponent in blue. And it is, perhaps, my most favorite game. Ever.

It was a great ending. The audio of Todd Leary going absolutely nuts is the best thing ever. And the joy of watching the Hoosiers beat Duke on Kentucky’s floor was just priceless.

But this game was memorable for another reason. As I’ve shared before, that tournament run has a special place in my heart because Alyson was born just a few hours after the Championship Game. But right before the Duke game, we had to take Aiden to the emergency room. If I remember correctly, he had a pretty high fever and was rather listless. He’d been having health problems so we didn’t want to take any chances.

“Great,” I thought. “I’ve got one kid that might be going into the hospital and another one about to be born.” To be honest, I’d forgotten that IU was even playing that afternoon. I think you can understand why.

While we were at the hospital, Aiden perked up and was eventually cleared to go back home. I remember listening to the game on the radio when we were driving home and almost turning it off in disgust. It was a blowout already. The game was hopeless.

We got home and I turned the game on. As a devoted Hoosier fan, I cannot ever give up on my team. Of course, that has led to lots of frustrating Saturdays with the Hoosiers football program. So, I sat down on our couch and watched. Christy took Aiden into the kitchen because he hadn’t eaten anything yet and was starving.


Suddenly, things got interesting. As the Hoosiers cut into the lead, I found myself inching down the couch, closer to the television. I’d cheer a good play on occasion, which Aiden thought was extremely hilarious.

Hoosiers inch closer.

I inch closer to TV.

Hoosiers score.

I shout.

Aiden cracks up.

The pattern repeated over and over again until I finally found myself standing in the middle of our living room, jumping up and down during the final minutes of the game.

Eighteen month-old Aiden is soaking it all in; cracking up the entire time.

When AJ Moye blocked that shot, I went nuts like the rest of Hoosier Nation. Aiden went nuts from his high chair.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when he jumps all over me when IU makes an exciting play. “Train up a child,” I guess…

Now, if only I can convince him that he doesn’t have to change the channel every time his team is down by a point or two. 🙂

Why I’m for Butler

The Butler bandwagon is alive and well.

Of course, many fans – especially Duke fans, I’d think – are complaining that the average person cheering for Butler to win tonight couldn’t find Butler on a map, doesn’t know where Hinkle Fieldhouse is, and thinks Hoosiers is about the Bulldogs. And most of the new-found fans probably joined the national basketball analysts in picking UTEP over Butler as the trendy 12-seed over 5-seed upset. And they may have a point. But there have been plenty of people jumping on the Duke and Carolina bandwagons over the years, so I don’t know if they really have room to complain.

I grew up a fan of the Purple Aces of the University of Evansville. And as I’ve stated before, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Xavier and Butler because of the intense rivalries they had with UE during the old MCC days. I remember being beyond giddy when Xavier upset Georgetown in the 1990 tournament. It was a tremendous victory for the entire conference (much like SEC fans chanted “SEC! SEC!” when Arkansas won the championship many years ago).

I guess if I had to rank the teams I’m for, it’d be in this order:

1.) Evansville & Indiana – I’d probably say it’s a tie, although it’s much easier to follow IU because of media attention.

3.) Butler

4.) Tennessee

5.) Ball State

6.) Xavier

Even if I didn’t have this kind of allegiance, I’d probably be cheering for Butler anyway. It’s the classic David vs. Goliath story (although it’s not Hoosiers!) and it doesn’t hurt that the campus is about an hour away from us. Of course, it’s pretty easy to cheer for almost anyone who is playing against Duke.

So, I guess you could say I’m jumping on the Butler bandwagon. And I’ve got no problem with that. But don’t throw me in with those who know nothing about the program. I’ve even been to Hinkle (although I was cheering for the other team – see the above list if you don’t understand why).

So who are you cheering for tonight? Why?

And…who did you pick at the beginning of the tournament for this game? Now, be honest!

(Here’s who I picked)