Second Thoughts: Donlon has Raiders headed in right direction

The Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati opened last week amid much fanfare. Unfortunately, passing out $20 chips to the general public was not part of the festivities. A co-worker who took his chances in the new gambling palace reports that there are no $2 or $5 blackjack tables. That means I won’t be strutting into the place anytime soon. Call me when they put in a sports book; that way, at least I can watch a game while I lose my money.

Wright State’s Billy Donlon is the Horizon League coach of the year, a well-deserved honor. The Raiders surprised everyone by reaching the 20-win plateau and finishing third in the conference with such a young roster. Heading into Saturday night’s HL semifinal versus Detroit, WSU’s largest margin of defeat had been 13 points. Seven losses have been by seven or fewer points.

It’ll be fun to see what Donlon will be able to do next season with a bunch of players who won’t need name tags the first week of practice. The Raiders’ five-man senior class of Cole Darling, A.J. Pacher, Matt Vest, Jerran Young and Miles Dixon could be outstanding.

Ohio State closes out the regular season today at home against Illinois. The Buckeyes have won four straight, including wins against No. 4 Michigan State and No. 2 Indiana. Impressive. This team has morphed into something more than Deshaun Thomas jacking up shots every time he touches the ball.

OSU will be one of several teams that could get/stay hot and win the Big Ten tournament, which will be a huge draw later this week in Chicago.

The Big East has some decisions to make. Now that the (kind of) new conference is cleared to start up this fall, the question is: 10 or 12? Of course, UD fans hope the league expands to 12 schools sometime soon.

Why would the Big East stay at 10? Money, of course. Fewer teams mean more TV loot for everyone.

Why would it expand to 12? Fox’s new sports channel needs product. If a 10-team league can’t fill enough slots, then UD might have a chance to become a serious, big-boy basketball program.

Congrats to UD baseball coach Tony Vittorio on his 600th career victory. I always love listening to Coach V when he shows youngsters how to put on their hats. … So, apparently that little guy who calls the shots in North Korea wasn’t as impressed with Dennis Rodman as we thought. … Has Mantei Te’o finished his 40-yard dash yet?

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.