BLACKMON, JOHNSON SIGN WITH IU: For a while, Indiana fans braced for a rough recruiting year. Two huge signings on Thursday left coach Tom Crean feeling ecstatic and let fans breathe a sigh of relief.
Almost three months after reopening his college search, 6-foot-2 shooting guard James Blackmon Jr. recommitted to Indiana and ended any lingering doubts about his future plans by signing a national letter-of-intent to play with the Hoosiers.
Robert Johnson of Chesterfield, Va., a 6-3 shooting guard, also signed Thursday to play for Indiana.
The signings should boost Indiana's perimeter scoring and quickness.
SSC VOLLEYBALL ADVANCES IN POSTSEASON: South Suburban College won the Region IV District B Championship after defeating Moraine Valley in five sets. The Bulldogs will compete in the national tournament Thursday through Nov. 23 at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio.
VALPO'S ALBRECHT NAMED TO FIRST TEAM: Valparaiso junior Mitch Albrecht and Eric Nieto have been named to the Madness Horizon 2013 All-Conference teams, as announced by CollegeSportsMadness.com.
Albrecht was named to the first team, while Nieto was named to the second team. Albrecht was the only Crusader to play and start in every match this season. He was the team leader in minutes played with 1,573. Nieto appeared in 13 matches, making 11 starts.
MCCUTCHEN WINS NL MVP; CABRERA REPEATS IN AL: Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen and Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera have won baseball's Most Valuable Player awards.
McCutchen won the National League honor by a surprisingly wide margin Thursday. Cabrera took the AL prize for the second straight year by a comfortable gap over Mike Trout.
McCutchen received 28 of the 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
McCutchen ranked among the NL leaders by hitting .317 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs. He also scored 97 runs, stole 27 bases and had a .404 on-base percentage.
Cabrera drew 23 of 30 first-place votes.
BASEBALL TO MOVE AHEAD WITH INSTANT REPLAY: Major League Baseball owners have voted to move ahead with a vast expansion on instant replay next season.
Owners approved funding the replay expansion when they met Thursday and plan to approve the exact rules in January following the completion of negotiations with the unions for umpires and players.
Rob Manfred, MLB's chief operating officer, said present and former umpires likely would make the decisions on contested calls after reviewing video in New York.
A manager will be given a maximum of two challenges per game and a successful challenge would not count against his limit. If a manager is out of challenges, umpires likely would be able to call for a review on their own.
FOUR-TEAM INDYCAR CHAMPION FRANCHITTI TO END RACING CAREER: Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti reluctantly retired Thursday after doctors told him it is too dangerous to continue racing following the injuries he suffered in a crash last month.
Franchitti fractured his spine, broke his right ankle and suffered a concussion in the Oct. 6 IndyCar race at Houston, where his car made contact with Takuma Sato's car on the last lap and sailed into a fence. The 40-year-old Franchitti underwent two surgeries on his ankle and recently returned home to Scotland to recover.
The four-time IndyCar champion did not use the word "retire" in a lengthy statement released through Target Chip Ganassi Racing, the team he joined in 2009 following a brief stint in NASCAR with Ganassi a year earlier.
Franchitti's 31 victories are tied for eighth on the all-time list, and his 33 poles are sixth.
IUN OVERCOMES SLOW START: Megan Holland tallied a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Danielle Zandstra added 11 points and nine boards to lead the Redhawks to a 66-63 win over Bethel on Wednesday night.
IUN fell behind by as many as 13 points at one point, but Brianne Wischman helped the Redhawks (4-1) rally, going 4-of-7 from 3-point range for 12 points.
Around the horn
WJOB co-owner and weekday morning drive personality Jim Dedelow is the guest on "Purdue Calumet Sports Insight" at 5:30 p.m. today on WJOB-AM (1230).