Sports trivia

Greg Peterson

Q1: Baby-faced Brad Stevens, only 33 years old, has received national acclaim for coaching his Butler squad to last Monday’s NCAA title game against Duke. But even if Gordon Heyward’s desperate 3-pointer had landed and the Bulldogs had knocked off the Blue Demons, Stevens would not be the youngest coach to win a national title in Division I men’s basketball. That honor belongs to Branch McCracken, who led what Big Ten team to the 1940 title at just 31 years of age?
A1: Indiana. McCracken’s Hoosiers, led by Curly Armstrong and Herm Schaefer, knocked off the Kansas Jayhawks 62-40 to win the second-ever NCAA tournament. The state of Indiana’s history of coaching prodigies goes beyond Stevens – a Zionsville native who attended DePauw – and McCracken, though: Bob Knight was only 32 when he led the 1973 Hoosiers to the Final Four.
Q2: In a high-scoring Opening Day, four different teams scored more than 10 runs on Monday, led by the Atlanta Braves’ 16-5 season-opening clubbing of the Chicago Cubs. Cubs fans, faced with the 54.00 ERA of staff ace Carlos Zambrano, can comfort themselves with the memory of Opening Day in 2003, when the Cubs destroyed the Mets 15-2 behind a two-homer performance by what eventual failure of an outfielder?
A2: Corey Patterson. With his seven RBIs, Patterson led the Cubs to a win the most lopsided opener in more than fifty years. Unfortunately for North Side fans, Patterson never became the player that Cubs scouts – and management – expected. Currently unaffiliated with any major-league team after he failed to make the Seattle Mariners’ roster this spring, Patterson boasts a .252 average and a career total of 781 strikeouts against just 169 walks.