Here we are. Round 1 officially… Following the First Four victory I was high on life. While the game against Wyoming was at some points painful to watch, we pulled out the win. And I will take ugly wins each and every day! Hey, so long as we can bring the opposition down to our game tempo and rhythm we will be just fine. This team is no stranger to adversity, so now is the time to weaponize that familiarity to low scoring yet still competitive tempo and gameplay. I mean we’ve seen our play drop at points over the course of the season. So, I feel like the Hoosiers had to have learned a thing or two to address these situations. And, while the First Four was close, I believe we addressed it. There were points I thought Maldonado may get hot but our boys were able to sever that before it got rolling each time! That’s growth people. But hey, that games behind us, time to press forward and go get the win over the Gaels of St. Mary’s College
St. Mary’s Primer
Listen, we know they play in Gonzaga’s conference. But what an absolute joke of a conference! The Hoosiers have been able to hold their opposition to 65.7ppg (58th across college basketball) in a conference of consisting of legitimate powerhouses of collegiate athletics. St. Mary’s held the opposition to a respectable 60.5 ppg. I say respectable because while that is the spot for 12th fewest across college basketball, THEY PLAY IN THE WEST COAST CONFERENCE!!!! While we were getting beaten and battered by the gauntlet of the Big Ten, St. Mary’s was beating up on schools like San Diego and Portland. So if there is an advantage to playing in that league, it is lesser skilled opponents may take less out of you over the course of your season. But I don’t resign to this. They had competed with Wisconsin and actually beat Notre Dame early in the season, but what does that mean in March? Jack squat. Teams can be entirely different entities by March. Look no further than the Hoosiers for that. We started the season hot, but settled into where we are currently. St. Mary’s has been playing very well, but ultimately against who?!
Many can say that IU is playing ugly basketball, but I say it does not matter if we can drag you down into playing that same basketball. Just did it to Wyoming. While some may attempt to battle us in slower, physical, iso, backdown play. You can try to adopt that play style, our boys were born into it, it seems.
The Gaels’ are extremely well balanced. Their leading scorer, 6-10 senior Matthias Tass, averages 12.6 points a game. Each member of their offense contributes though with no one being left off of the box score for them. But the only problem with matching up against us, is our defensive liabilities are few and far between. We never even really had to transition to a single double team against Wyoming’s “stellar big men”.
St. Marys can shoot the basketball. Which means we can not be cutting under the picks in this game. The second we give them an opening it’s daggers. Daggers that could spell a heartbreaking momentum shift. Our boys will need to be playing tight man throughout. I have full confidence in our boys to do just that. I see a lot of venom for Parker Stewart out there. But that guy has got some clamps. Needs to cut down on just some poor decisions on overcommitting on defense, but nonetheless he is giving it his all and can guard any 2 or 3 we may need him to.
I say we ride the hot hands and look for Xavier to get the ball to 2 guys, Trayce and Geronimo. Let’s hop on this wagon, currently being driven by Trayce with Geronimo riding shotgun, and ride them as far as they will take us.
Blind Faith Booster
For this Blind Faith Booster I would like to shortly discuss the words of one of the GOATs, a true champion, Muhammed Ali (ever heard of him?).
Muhammed Ali spoke about belief in oneself when he said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.“
Words from a true legend to ponder heading into our bout against St. Mary’s. We all gotta believe it will happen tonight Hoosier Nation. You’d be amazed at the power of wishful thinking. Nothing in life is won without first imagining the manner in which it can possibly be won! No time for critiquing (after I had critiqued a bit earlier, I know). Our lads need our utmost support. They need to get out of this stretched out funk of limited shooting, and I think we can aid our guys in that endeavor through our support and appreciation. No doubt. No pessimism. Just optimistic unyielding, unbending, and unbreaking support.
LUX ET VERITAS!!!!