JUST GET ME ONE TOP FREE AGENT! Tyrann Mathieu to the Colts seems like it may have legs. Short thoughts.

Just one time. Just one time I want to land a top tier free agent. What’s the point of all this cap space if we aren’t going to use it on a stud or two? Tyrann Mathieu appears to be having odds on him to the Colts. It appears the gambling site oddschecker has moved the Colts into the odds favorite to get Tyrann Mathieu from free agency, following his tenure in Kansas City.

Tyrann Mathieu seems to be the biggest named free agent still available on the defensive side of the ball. With the Colts being seen as favorite a few places, I have to say this must really have some legs. Because when are we EEEVVVEEERRRR the favorite for a projected free agent landing zone? Not too often. I seem to get my hopes up each and every year that we will get the free agents of top caliber, but rarely is this ever the case.

I’ve gotten my hopes up time and time before. And time and time before I’ve been let down. We have yet to make a real splash in free agency in the Ballard era. The largest splash we’ve seen was Carson Wentz and I’ll say the unexpected move of Matt Ryan was solid, with the actual verdict to come following his play on the field. We haven’t had a solid free agent track record from our current regime. So I am cautious to get too invested in potentially wishful thinking.

Although, I believe if the Colts can secure Tyran Mathieu and he can perform up to the level that we’ve seen from him over the course of his career, the Colts defense could have the most intuitive defensive duo in the NFL. Darius Leonard and Tyronn Mathieu are both very, very intuitive players. Their instincts and knowledge for the game seem to put them in positions to make a play more often than not. Not many players possess this gift to any degree, while these two guys may be some of the best examples of this in the NFL.

He would enter that Colts’ locker room and immediately seek to aid Darius in setting a tone of attitude and rock steady defense. His resume speaks for itself and would speak volumes to those within the Colts organization. He is a genuine leader, and after watching the Colts last year, other than Darius, I feel like our leadership was lacking. The Colts Need to go out and get the guys that will help “set the tone” for lack of a better explanation.

While all of this is very promising I can’t help but fear a potential fall off in Tyrann’s game following his next contract signing. I’m sorry I just don’t see him remaining in that top tier of NFL safeties for too much longer. I imagine he may be looking for this next contract to be his last MAJOR payday. If this is the case, I think he may be looking for a longer contract, and get really comfortable wherever he lands next. I don’t know how tied down we’d want to be with a major contract spent on Mathieu when there seem to be more imperative roles that need to be paid and cemented within our franchise. (Fingers crossed we got QB covered for a few more years if Matt Ryan should find a second wind in Indianapolis and want to stick around).

Here’s hoping something can come of this. I will be over the moon if we are able to land him. Because ultimately, this salary cap is going to climb. And there seems to be more and more ways that creative accounting is allowing teams to manipulate that salary cap. So throw it all at him. Get our number 1 recruiter Darius Leonard on the case! I’m ready to see Tyrann Mathieu suit it up For The Shoe.

Why you should not be concerned about the Indiana Hoosiers entering the often feared Transfer Portal.

Everyone who sees the four most recent players to enter the transfer portal, you need to think about the circumstances pertaining to each players future, and just what the transfer portal stands to be in the age of the NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) agreement. So I’m going to write this in order to talk the less rational off the ledge and to put some minds at ease.

In 100 years when people look back on the history of NCAA Basketball, I honestly believe that the history will be divided and discussed in terms as two different eras, the pre-NIL era and NIL era. The ability to capitalize financially on your brand has established an unprecedented and monumental shift in the landscape of college athletics.

You know who can’t make a cent of the millions upon millions of dollars to be made by student athletes now? Athletes with dwindling play time. Many people think that the NIL agreement would mean the top schools with the largest fanbases will get the largest name recruits. Which will be the case. But think about the 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th guy on a squad. You honestly stand to make more money on endorsements by being the 1st or 2nd top billed guy within a mid level fanbase. So for all the athletes out there who realize that the NBA doesn’t seem like a valid possibility, it’s time to go out and make the money and find opportunity while you can. And none of these athletes should be demonized for it.

This is the new normal folks. Guys who see more earning potential for themselves elsewhere are going to be going into the portal. The 2nd guy on a mid major probably stands to make more in the age of NIL than the 8th or 9th guy at a power 5 conference. College town businesses will look to make deals with them far more often.

And just to express my speculation as to the reasoning, let’s just take a look at the 4 who have decided to test the waters of the portal this year, and where each of them currently stands within the program.

Rob Phinisee, while making a huge and iconic shot in Assembly Hall, his prospect for many minutes next year doesn’t look too promising. With the guys we’ve got coming in, I’ve got to believe that he sees the writing on the wall. The duties of bringing up the ball look on track to be split between Xavier Johnson and Jalen Hood-Schifino, whose size at 6-5 and his .998 247sports recruiting score looks to put him on pace to be the major catalyst of our offense next year. It looks like Rob will be playing even less minutes next year if he decides to come back to Indiana.

Khristian Lander, while I am sorry that Lander’s tenure as a Hoosier was most unremarkable, Mike Woodson has stated that he simply can not put such a defensive liability on the floor. If Mike Woodson’s program identity is going to be based on a lock down defense, I just don’t see him trusting Lander. And I’m sure Lander knows this. I am sorry that he didn’t develop more here in Bloomington. But if he isn’t gelling well with Mike Woodson’s game plan, he simply will not do. And if he finds success elsewhere, good for him. I hope he does find a welcoming home.

Parker Stewart, thank you for your efforts this season. I think that Mike Woodson knows shooting needs addressed and that means the team may look vastly different next year with who we could potentially get within the transfer portal. I think Parker Stewart sees an opportunity to play elsewhere to profit financially, honestly maybe even potentially play overseas and earn some coin. Could you blame him? The guy already has his Masters degree. Let him go elsewhere. I’m sure he may be ready to head out anyway. And good for him.

And Michael Durr. I appreciate the efforts, for better or worse. I wish you all the best. Don’t mind getting another scholarship in the chamber. Hope he finds a place that best serves him.

This is the future. The wild west of the NIL era. No rules. Just right. This is going to happen, guys are going to transfer. It’s happening elsewhere too. Don’t you worry. All of this transfer movement is for good reason, there are better things to fall in their place. Here’s to these guys finding better opportunities and here to whoever we decide to go after within the portal now.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “We stand today on the edge of a new frontier”. While he was talking about the 1960’s I think his words speak true about the NIL. Now’s the time to test this thing. To go out and win in the new era.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Vegas oddsmakers agree, the Matt Ryan trade was for the best! Hopefully this can ease the detractors just a bit.

So, you know why Vegas has been able to be the national capital of gambling and debauchery since the city’s founding in 1905? Because THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS. They’re right more often than not. If they weren’t, the gambling industry wouldn’t be the evergrowing behemoth that it currently is. And if you are a frequent sports gambler, you see just how good these line makers and bookies are at forecasting any given scenario in sports. I mean so often there is a game still in gambling contention right up until the final whistle.

I’m going to spare anyone unfamiliar with the way odds are expressed the pain of having to trudge through this post, and not get into the specific odds. I understand that to the less degenerate among those faithful to the shoe, that reading odds and payouts can often times feel like a foreign language.

Need to get to whooping on the Titans.

Following the Matt Ryan trade there has been immediate shift in the odds for the AFC  South crown. Across the many, many sports books out there, the Tennessee Titans were the favorite to win the AFC South and who could blame the bookies and NFL analysts for that? This is no longer the case, with the Colts moving into the favorite position across many sportsbooks in America.

How major is this? Well consider the fact that just last season the Tenessee Titans were the #1 seed last year. A season after they posted the best record in the AFC and following 2 years in which they won the AFC, the Titans now slip out of favor with the book makers all because of the signing of Matt Ryan to the Colts. This should put the mind of many Colts fans at ease even if just a bit.

I get all the frustrations currently with our front office. But for the major detractors from this trade, you need to realize while this post may be written by a neverwaivering Colts fanboy, Vegas is as objective as it gets. They honestly can’t afford to be anything other than objective. So while the detractors are often the loudest among us. I am genuinely excited to welcome our latest attempt at finding a QB, and I have to believe that is the case for most of us out there.

Yes, Matt Ryan’s numbers were down last season. But look at what he had for an offense. Look at his team. The Falcons were an absolute joke. At the least having Jonathon Taylor opens up the field for him. At the best we develop our receivers and can create multiple options for Matt. I have to believe that just having the threat of the pass now is the significant boost in our odds. A threat that in Vegas’ eyes is very real with real potential.

It does seem that you need the stud QB to win the super bowl these days, but I am (maybe delusionally) hopeful that if Matt Ryan can just be reliable, limiting our 3rd and longs and keeping possession of the ball, we can do something special this year.

I know the whole fan base seems torn on this offseason. Yes, I get that we’ve had more QBs than one would care to support. But hey, at least Irsay is invested enough in his own team to put a fire under Ballard to get something done. We have an active front office willing to go out and try something. There are so many teams out there that this is not the case for. Many owners are ok with mediocrity. While stability is king, Irsay’s willingness to try anything and everything to make this team better is the reason I love our ownership. And at the end of the day, no one truly knows what they’re getting. I mean how different would NFL drafts be with the power of foresight. I can tell you great QBs like Mahomes, Brees, or Brady would DEFINITELY not go where they did.

All we can do is ride with our squad. So I’m buckled in and fully on board for our AFC South Reclamation Tour. Here’s to Ballard for making a deal that will at least make the Boys in Blue watchable. And here’s to Vegas for laying out that this is a step in the right direction for the Indianapolis Colts.

For The Shoe

Let me convince myself this is a good move for Indiana. Thoughts on the Dane Fife dismissal.

So Dane Fife was dismissed from duty as assistant coach yesterday, and I’m sure most of us have seen the statements made. So I won’t dive into those any further. We’ve seen visible contention and frustration between Dane Fife and Mike Woodson this year. I just had no idea it was to this extent. So here’s just a few thoughts on the matter.

I’m going to first delve into some of my reservations before allowing to let my unrelenting loyalty to this program take over and convince myself this is a good thing. At the end of the day I’m just a self proclaimed fanboy who will ride with this team until the day the good Lord calls my number… heck even then, I’ll be using my totally awesome angel magic or whatever superpowers I get to help raise the Hoosiers’ shooting 5% at the least.

But on to my reservations…

This seems flippant. This seems illogical. After a long tenure as Michigan State Assistant, Dane Fife had decided to leave what looked like the heir apparent role for Tom Izzo. I was convinced this was to help Mike Woodson redefine a once storied program looking to get back to national relevancy. That’s the type of guy I personally would ride with. That’s the type of guy who will take chances and risk it for a cause he believes in, and one close to his heart.

Dane in the Knight era

I know the animosity between the two was sometimes visible, but I never thought that losing Dane was even on the radar. I for one thought that his decision to leave Tom Izzo and his ever so sweet role waiting in the wings would have bought him Mike Woodson’s loyalty for life. I thought we had the Robin to Mike Woodson’s Batman. It appears this was not the case.

If Tom Izzo held him in such high regard, he must be a great addition right?

And while this does seem like a gut punch out of the blue, I am beginning to almost delusionally sell myself on the idea that this is for the best…

For one, in his year at Indiana Dane Fife was unable to secure a single recruit. Now, I can’t speak to how difficult it may have been to get the guys that Woodson may have had Dane Fife targeting, because I’d imagine as our most recognizable assistant Woodson probably had him focused on some of the top tier guys. The same guys getting offers from programs firmly established, not programs looking to reassert themselves. So to be fair that sales pitch could be more difficult. But honestly. We need the guys who can get those guys in spite of that… we need some salesmen at assistant coach.

We need assistants who can get THE GUYS. Nothing less will get us to national prominence again. RECRUITING IS KING! In today’s NCAA you need a game changer or two that can dictate the game when it’s truly on the line. And if Mike Woodson doesn’t think Dane Fife was the guy to do it for us, we owe it to him and the program to trust the vision, until we can no longer do so.

Mike Woodson deserves the freedom to establish his network of lieutenants in the manner he sees fit. This isn’t a democracy, it’s an advised dictatorship. And honestly, that is how it has to be. In his first year, he’s got us trending upward. Give him every resource and allow him any action he needs to keep that trend elevating.

We don’t need some Head Coach-Assistant Head Coach tandem to lead us too our elusive 6th banner. I mean how many true HC-AC tandems are title winners? I’m going to say coaches are like quarterbacks, in that if you have two, you don’t have THE ONE. Yeah Dane Fife was a big name assistant, but assistants come and go, a program is defined by their leader.

Also it seems like this should weirdly be seen as a win for those among us who are convinced that we need to find “the next Bobby Knight”. This action should tell you that Mike Woodson is committed to creating a program that will be held to his standards and his expectations, under his direction and vision. So honestly in this regard this is a very “Bobby Knight” move. Being ruthless in the pursuit of athletic dominance is soooo Bobby.

On an almost totally unrelated note, while I’m starting to convince myself this is a good move, one thought that I’ve been having over the course of a few years now is I may think the answer to winning in today’s NCAA is not “the next Bobby Knight”. Sadly, I feel like the Bobby achetype may have no place in today’s NCAA landscape. It seems more and more that today’s top tier recruiting game is dictated by the carrot, not the stick. Seems more and more like the slimeball coaches are the ones finding ways to win, Calipari and Coach K being my prime examples. The priorities of these top athletes now seem more focused on “their brand” than a commitment to winning. Call me the oldest 29 year old you’ve ever heard, but they just don’t have the same priorities as they did back in the days of Bobby. So while reverting back to discipline and determination is Mike’s way, I can only hope at this point that this is the answer.

I really am hoping that all of this culminates in Mike Woodson establishing a program, nay a culture of commitment to excellence. Both on and off the court. His self imposed suspensions were my personal prime evidence of him willing to cut off a leg to stop an infection of unaccountability. Which I love. It’s Mike’s way or the highway now, for better or worse. He is looking to establish accountability at Indiana, in an age that accountability seems to be less and less of a priority for others. I will rooting for him to pull that off and I have to think I can’t be alone.

I really hope we can find the guys who will recruit with the best of them. But just lastly in regards to our breakup with Dane Fife (still always a Hoosier), I’ll ask you to ponder a quote from the oft revered thespian and cultural supericon Marilyn Monroe…

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things could fall together.

Here’s hopin’ your right Marilyn!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Jalen Hood-Schifino (The Future of the Program) has me very excited for the 2022-2023 season

I wanted to take a moment in case anyone wasn’t aware, our team, while having plenty of returning players, is gaining an absolute stud of a freshman next year. Jalen Hood-Schifino!!!

Credit Phenom Hoops on YouTube

Those were only highlights for his sophomore year. He’s only gotten stronger while maintaining the touch at the rim visible throughout that video.

This man is absolutely lighting it up for Montverde High School. At 6-5, and with moves smooth as Tennessee whiskey, I have to believe he will immediately make an impact and shoulder a large portion of our offense next season. Playing at schools such as Monteverde he is already becoming acclimated with playing with top level D1 talent alongside him. It’s playing at schools like this that allow guys to have the inate ability to trust their teammates. A lot of guys who are top dogs in High School can often seek to overcompensate when they feel they must carry their squad. This is not the DNA needed for an NCAA championship team.

The kid is a walking bucket. Not only that, he also primarily runs the offense off the pick at Montverde a system that, barring a total system shift from Mike Woodson, will aid him greatly in being able to jump into Indiana’s starting 5 at the 1 or 2 and have an immediate impact. His coach at Montverde has stated that his maturity over the course of his senior season has been something to behold. He is allowing the game to come to him and being patient. An attribute that was lacking in Xavier Johnson over the course of this season. I feel like whenever I say something like that about Xavier I must leave a disclaimer stating that a large portion of this last season Xavier Johnson largely rushed and forced things because he had to. There were some games this year, none of the other guys wanted to score. So Xavier (in my personal All-Indiana Heart team) needs to be given some slack on that. But having Jalen will only help him slow down his own game while knowing he has a reliable offensive engine in Jalen Hood-Schafino.

Jalen Hood-Schifino will be playing in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15th this year. The game is now the premiere high school showcase game in the country. This game is made up of many faces that are destined to be the future of not only college basketball, but the NBA as well! If you would like to check out the alumni including Trae Young, Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Romeo Langford, and Trayce as well, you can check the WIKIPEDIA on the classic. Being invited to this game is a career achievement. An invite to this showcase is a badge of honor given to those blessed with the natural gifts that they then honed over their 18 years on earth and proof that they are on track to be true greats in the game of basketball.

Getting guys like Jalen Hood-Schifino, especially getting him out of the state of North Carolina, is the difference between the good teams and the great teams. This is the first major and I mean MAJOR get for the Mike Woodson era. If we can really show out with some young guns this coming season that will just snowball into more top tier recruits and more success in Assembly Hall!

While this year ended on a shallacking from the St. MARY’S Gaels, I still believe this season ended as a success. And with the recruiting class we’ve got coming in next year, our tournament bid looks to be only the start of some very beautiful basketball to come.

In the words of the late, great Frank Sinatra,

The best is yet to come!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!

Matt Ryan to the Colts. A hopelessly optimistic fanboy’s thoughts.

And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.

-Meister Eckhart
Meister Eckhart, Late 13th Century Theologian and probable Colts fan

Alright… So we’ve finally figured out who will be under center for the Indianapolis Colts this season. In doing so we see yet another new beginning for the franchise. Just yesterday Matt Ryan was traded to the Colts for the 82nd pick (3rd round). And I have got to say… I will take it. Now I know nothing about constructing a winning squad in the NFL, but I’m going to run with this straight from the gut and say I love it.

You have to think about the situation that Ballard had gotten the Colts into. Matt Ryan was the best option. An option that didn’t seem available at the beginning of free agency. I mean the Atlanta Falcons really did their franchise star for the last 2 decades dirty in this one. It seemed out of the blue that an Atlanta rebuild was presented, even though it was desperately needed. It still looked like they would ride with Matt Ryan until the wheels fell off.

Matt Ryan has been the face of the Atlanta Falcons for 14 years. While I am grateful that we have addressed our most glaring issue on the roster, can’t help but feel like Matt Ryan got absolutely dissed by the front office here. He restructured his monster contract in order to give the front office the ability to get him other guys with more cap space in good faith, and they did not reciprocate. I believe the fans of Indianapolis will welcome him with open arms and he will forget the franchise that did him dirty pretty shortly after his arrival in The Circle City.

While a 20 to 12 isn’t a great TD to Interception ratio. I truly believe that most of Atlanta’s roster is absolute doodoo stank, except the freak of nature that is Kyle Pitts and a few defensive dogs.  I really believe that we may get to see sparks of Matt Ryan of old when he had a run game to open the playbook a bit. I remember when Matt Ryan had a tandem of Devonte Freeman and Tevin Coleman (Shout out my Hoosiers) where the Falcons offense was dominant. Yes that was with Julio Jones and Matt probably both in the prime of their careers, but then again with guys like Aaron Rodgers and Tommy Titles out there whose to say he can’t have a strong showing in this his 15th season in the NFL.

I really believe that Jonathon Taylor will open up the passing game in a way that Matt has not seen in quite some time. Of course there are still glaring needs in the passing game. But if Michael Pittman Jr. can continue to progress and we are able to find a reliable deep threat either through what’s left of free agency or the draft, we could really see something out of this squad. This year’s wide receiver draft class is pretty stacked so we may be able to pick someone up that could make an immediate impact. Although there is now a glaring hole at Tight End (barring Mo Allie-Cox stepping up to what I believe his potential could be), a deep threat to compliment Michael Pittman’s game would be exceptional in my very unprofessional, very biased opinion.

Another effect that signing Matt Ryan might have is the free agency of Julio Jones. And while even just typing that out makes me feel like I may be going a little senile, it hasn’t stopped Darius Leonard from going to recruit the Hall of Fame bound wide receiver. Darius tweeted out yesterday,
“@juliojones_11 aye man hear me out! Matt have already thrown you a lot of touchdowns in the dome in Atlanta, y’all could finish what y’all started in Atlanta in the dome here in Indy!” And yeah, a tweet may not mean much. But hey, why not kick the tires. If this is a possibility we could really see an entirely new offense in Lucas Oil next season.

I’ll be the first to admit while writing this I am getting flashbacks to when we signed Carson Wentz. This hopeful, and admittedly somewhat unwarranted optimism is an all too familiar feeling that I felt 3 times in the last 3 years. Rivers. Wentz. And now Ryan. But whatever… I bleed Blue. So I’m riding with this team for better or worse.

So all in all, I’m possibly too optimistic about what Matt Ryan had left to offer, but then again I didn’t expect Phillip Rivers to do jack in Indianapolis. And honestly I was wanting him to come back for a second season. I believe Matt Ryan to have an even better chance to make a difference in our season than Phillip did. Which is very promising in my own opinion. So I will be putting all of my chips on Matt Ryan this year. For better or worse I was born a Colts fan, an irrationally loyal one at that. So excited about this season, I’m on board wherever this may lead.

Indiana vs. Saint Mary’s. “The Mourning After” short thoughts on March.

Well… here we are. Bounced from the tournament, after getting taken to the woodshed. And while I will get into what we have to appreciate about this team. I can’t sit here and say I’m not feeling crushed. Because I really am. How excitingly nervous I was yesterday at this time, I am equally bummed now. But that’s all just me being selfish for that one. So I’m writing this almost as a self therapeutic exercise in counting the blessings we got out of all this. But before all that let’s just quickly run through some of my feelings on the game.

Quick notes on the St. Mary’s game

-When Parker hit the first 3 attempt of the day I was feeling pretty dang good. Dumb to go off a sample size of 1 but I couldn’t help but be feeling good after that one. Was feeling ridiculously optimistic as it’s not often we’ve been hitting that first open 3. But alas, the shooting did not continue through the course of the game.

-No matter how often our team goes into the half with a large deficit, it never gets easier to watch. Even when we were down by 12 at half. That Michigan Big Ten Tournament game has proven to me that anything is possible in this league and selfishly I almost expected the come back a little too optimistically. I think I am so hopelessly, irrationally, and painfully optimistic about anything Indiana Basketball that I can’t be objective at all. No way we can do anything of significance down the line without cutting those halftime deficits out.

-St. Mary’s ran an actual offense. Indiana did not. While I love how HARD Xavier was playing out there, unfortunately, it was just a lot of effort with no objective game plan. Again, I appreciate it, but without having a gameplan other than the hopeful pass over the center or sprint to the rim every time, it just won’t do.

-St. Mary’s offense was impressive to watch. Each man on the floor had a role each time down the court. It wasn’t just a 2 man play with everyone else opening the floor by standing on the wings. Credit to them.

SHORT THOUGHTS ON MARCH AS A WHOLE

Our boys scrapped hard to get into this thing at all. The Hoosiers deserve credit for that. The First Four being in Dayton and not at the respective sites of Round 1 is absolutely absurd when games don’t end until after midnight. Such an unfair way to go about it. Also, I still say it should have been Michigan playing in that First Four game and not Indiana. BS that we even had to play that one. But, you have to win the games you get.

All in all, this season has ended as a success. Our boys were dead tired heading into that game, and I really think I could see it from the jump even though we were leading there for a bit. We made the tournament that’s all I needed personally. But I also am not going to say I wouldn’t have loved a little run here now. But really, the boys saw the goal of the tournament for THIS YEAR and got there. I say THIS YEAR because that will not be the goal in the seasons to come. Making the tournament his first year, Mike Woodson has gotten a program with no direction and has us trending upward. That’s all I wanted, and I believe that’s all any rational Indiana fan should have asked for. Again, next season we will be looking to keep this trend towards success going. I have confidence that this can be the case.

If the devil had come to me with a contract saying Indiana will make it as far as Kentucky at the beginning of the season, I’d have signed that for sure. So while they are currently at risk of setting their whole state on fire. I believe we should be grateful for our expectations were far lower and more realistic. Also, it does alleviate some of my personal pain knowing Calipari and the Wildcats will be watching right along with us. Selfishly, I do relish the anguish of a cheater.

All in all, it sucks to be eliminated. Feel bad now, let it hurt, get it all out because come April we are back at it. The hunt for Banner 6 continues! The Hoosiers fought to enter the tournament, and they did. We just need to this to snowball. I mean, hey we finally have a chip on our shoulder from March heading into next year. I will be doing a deep dive all weekend on what exactly next years lineup looks to be (barring an inevitable crazy transfer portal just for every team), as well as working on a season recap. Thank you for taking the time to read this and Go Hoosiers.

LUX ET VERITAS.

Your Indiana Hoosiers vs. St. Mary’s Gaels Primer / Blind Faith Boost!

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!!!!

HOOSIERS COLLECT THEIR BOUNTY AND BEAT THE COWBOYS!!! WE ARE ON TO THE NEXT ONE!!!

LET’S GO Hoosiers!!!!!

Quick first half recap. Slow start lead to a defensive battle to start this one. Seemed like neither side could buy a bucket. Our defense is dominant and was the key to the first half score ending 30-25. Neither team seemed to want to make a shot, but dang both sides were playing tough as nails. Thank your higher power that Maldonado didn’t want to play on the floor, but rather in the air. His turnovers and play in the first were pivotal in that first half. Missed layups and free throws abound. But nonetheless we got out of the first half with the 5 point lead.

2nd half finally started to pick up. Ike started to pick up his game for Wyoming. The game definitely built a bit of momentum and our boys picked it up right in step. Causing 17 turnovers through only 32 minutes, tying Wyoming’s season high. That would be broken shortly after that point. The game picked up significantly while both teams seemed to piecemeal some semblance of a rhythm together. But even then the defense remained stout as the score ended 66-58.

Trayce put on a clinic. His game is something else to watch. He lacks size on pretty much every man he’s guarding and yet he makes big men actually terrified at the rim! Guys with 4 inches on him are afraid to get stuffed at the rim. His game is also smooth as a baby’s bottom. He makes that post up teardrop look easy. For anyone watching only the Hoosiers all year you may think it is easy, when it most certainly is not. That’s just the level of game Trayce is dishing out each game.

Geronimo is the GARBAGE MAN!!!! Picking up and putting back the trash at the rim! What a huge game from him. When he was a possible scratch with injury. I thought that would be a loss. I just had NNNNNOOOOOOO IDEA just how big of a loss it would have been. Man… we NEEDED HIM in this one, and he delivered 10 fold passed expectations against Wyoming. Give him this next off-season of training in Bloomington, Geronimo is going to be a scary matchup for anyone in the Big Ten! GERONIMO WAS THIS GAME’S X-FACTOR. While Trayce remained as reliable as ever it was absolutely paramount that Indiana had another contributer to act as any sort of fuel for our game. I mean he seemed to be the only one sinking anything at one point. What an absolute stud. No critiques from this guy… only unrelenting appreciation!

Shout out to the Hoosier faithful in the arena today. You were doing the Lord’s work! That arena was ruckus with the cream and crimson blooded. Your presence had to be felt in that arena I’m sure. It was felt through the TruTV(whhhhyyyy are they still trying to shove that channel down our throats), so I know it had to be quite audible in Dayton.

Only minor critique was the lineup on the floor at when Durr was bumbling around a bit. That was rough. I don’t want to get into it too much while trying to only send out the most positive of vibes to Indiana’s tournament run. But let’s just take a note of that and learn from it moving forward.

So proud of these boys for sticking in the fight. It wasn’t the prettiest fight, but man if they weren’t willing to get as gritty with it as it took! Huge day for the boys! Huge day for Hoosier Nation. Nothing but good vibes to follow! We are playing with house money. Surpassed all our expectations for a growing season with new leadership already. Nothing to lose. And there is nothing more dangerous than men with nothing to lose!

So now we face St. MARYS! The ultimate game of “what’s your mascot?”. They are a good squad. Indiana is going to have to address these free throws being thrown away if they want to beat them.

Also in case you were wondering a Gael is a person originating from Gaelic cultures. A little knowledge for you. Know thy enemy and what not.

All in all, I think the 21st century mogul and poet Jay-Z can some up my current mindset.

On to the next one!!!!”

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Your “Blind Faith Boost” before Indiana takes on Wyoming.

“‘Cuz you gotta have faith. Faith. Uh Faithah!!!” -George Michael’

-Trayce Jackson-Davis

Alright folks. I just wanted to go ahead and send this post out, hoping to get anybody a little confidence and good vibe boost before we start our March Madness campaign. I do believe in the power of collective thought. So selfishly I am going to post this to attempt to aid the Hoosiers however I can for their First Four game tomorrow against the Wyoming Cowboys.

No put downs, just gas ups here. The time to be critical is over for us Hoosier fans. This is the team we got. Time to flip the switch to Rabid, unrelenting, unflinching support. There’s no room on this wagon for anything else if we want our boys to play up to their potential. No room for negative thoughts now that we are in. It’s anyone’s title to win with this year. Just had to get in and we did.

If any of you have read any of my previous posts here you’ll know I am dropping quotes on the regular and I have just a few to mull over for ya.

Saint Augustine, the 4th century theologian and philosopher once spoke of faith. “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” Now I’m sure he was speaking on faith in God. But I think that quote speaks to faith and belief in general. I mean it’s the old “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re usually right” just worded more poetically. But the quote rings true. The craziest thing is our faith should come even easier than that as WE HAVE SEEN what this team can do when firing on all cylinders! So have faith Hoosier Nation!

Renowned architect, and undercover Indiana fan Frank Lloyd Wright had this to say about belief, “The thing always happens that you really believe in, and the belief in a thing makes it happen“. Not quite as eloquent as St. Gus up top but nonetheless on the nose. No great deed has been done in this world without first imagining the victorious and beneficial outcome. The drawbacks and potential loss are always the second thought. No need for that second thought heading into this tournament. Let’s just have faith these boys leave it all our there and that we’ll be able to respond to adversity in the face of opposing runs.

Lastly, it was the 20th century poet and bard Billy Idol that said, “Well there’s nothing to lose And there’s nothing to prove… I’ll be dancing with myself.” That’s just it. We have nothing to lose people. Mike Woodson got us to the tournament and in doing so solidified this season as an uptick in our trajectory. His first year he improved us, when I expected a down year rife with growing pains. We have nothing to lose this year. No expectations for Final Fours. As far as “nothing to prove” goes… We’ve already proved what needed to be proven this year, and that was program growth and improvement. So let’s just get out there and and keep on dancin’ through this tourney!

I have faith in this program. But I also have faith in us! The fans. Indiana fans are unlike any other. The single most basketball obsessed, rabid and educated fan base out there in my book. Indiana fans travel like a wave of Ghenghis Khan’s hoarde, with the manner in which we invade arenas! Our fans are always an x factor in neutral sites. Because we show up for the Hoosiers even when there’s nothing of circumstance on the line. Just a clear cut above the rest!

I would not want to play Indiana in this tournament. Our ceiling is non existant in my mind, because this team has yet to hit it and we are still here. We just need the boys to be feeling their best!  An Indiana team operating at ALL SYSTEMS GO can not be beat this year! I have faith that it can happen. That’s all I really got, but I’ll give it all to the boys in Crimson!

Let’s take this one game at a time. Let’s all support this squad with all we’ve got because these boys deserve it. They’ve been beaten and battered learning a new system in the gauntlet of juggernauts that is the Big Ten regular season, and are now tougher for it. The strongest swords are forged in the hottest of fires, and I don’t know of any fire hotter than the Big Ten.

To any and all making the trip to Dayton for the game. Bring the ruckus, pump up our boys, and the rest of us will be sending the positive vibes from afar. Godspeed.

Indiana’s Blind Faith Apostle,

Burke

LUX ET VERITAS!!

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