NCAA tournament “Round of Two”. Indiana Hoosiers v. Rutgers pregame thoughts and optimism.

I woke up today feeling like Jack Skellington…

WHAT! IS! THIS!!?!?!

Oh what a wonderful feeling! My breakfast is tasting better, the birds are singing prettier, and by God I’d say I have a pep in my step this morning. Our boys have grown together quick enough to say to hell with the growing pains. When most were expecting an underwhelming season with a developing gameplan, our boys mustered together a season that has us still holding our breaths with each shot into the month of March!

Mike Woodson has already managed to give me something Archie Miller had failed to in his entire tenure as Head Coach of Indiana, a season where I’m not resigned to mediocrity by the end of February. After taking loss after loss in that 5 game losing streak, Indiana spit out its loose teeth and in a  “Rocky”esque effort the Hoosiers finally began punching back and now have an absolute showdown with Rutgers over a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Hail to the Chief!

I titled this “Round of Two” because this game today is just that. This is the first round in the NCAA tournament! Both teams are on the first four out or last four in on most of if not all the major bracketology reports available. Meaning this win is absolutely crucial to not only your team’s victory, but also your closest bid competition’s downfall. That’s double dipping on your own success if I’ve ever heard it.

Being essentially win and your in here, the Hoosiers are behind the wheel of their own destiny. And while yesterday, I wrote my Love Letter to this year’s Hoosier squad, I would be lying if I said my heart won’t be pumping out of my chest, hanging on every shot praying for that Hoosier victory. I know it’s selfish to ask for more when I truly believe this Indiana team owes the fans absolutely nothing, but I’m begging you basketball gods!!! Let my Hoosiers pull this one out today!

I won’t ask for anything else! Just give me more of the excitement I feel in this moment! When your team’s playing for something, everything’s better in life. So sad reading that after typing it, but I STAND BY THAT! I mean come on let’s be real its the same reason half of all of our timelines are clogged with Hoosier posts separated only by the millionth picture of your coworkers baby you could give two about.

We live for this. We live for March. We are a different breed of fan. Our blood runs Crimson (as most does I guess, but NONETHELESS!!!). Give me the stakes. Give me the highs and I’ll gladly take those lows. I mean… this is Indiana after all.

If Xavier Johnson could turn his pair of games into a trilogy of greatness I see no reason why Indiana doesn’t march into Assembly Hall and handle their business. This is a special group of young men and when it’s clicking Indiana can run with anyone. Win and you’re in here, and based on how frequently the top teams have been losing this year, seems like if you’re in, you’re in contention to mess around and win the whole darn thing!

1 more solid game from Xavier and we are talking best trilogy I’ve seen since Lord of the Rings.

So gather your loved ones around your biggest, baddest TV. And let’s all root on our boys who have absolutely battled this season as they look to cement a position in the NCAA tournament. See you all on the other side! Here’s to some more heart attack level stress inducing games to come.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!,

This hopelessly optimistic fan boy

Also, if you came here looking for stats. I do apologize… there are nerdier sources available for that.

A Love Letter to the 2021-2022 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball team.

I hope I’m not alone in truly loving this year’s Indiana Hoosiers team. Going into this season Mike Woodson was playing with house money. When Mike Woodson was handed the reigns to the program in March of 2021, he was given them with the understanding that in order to get a program back on track it may take some time and effort. A new coach is offered a position with a shot to install his gameplan with the guys he recruits to execute that gameplan. So a team made up of some of the old regimes guys can often times take time to adjust.

This team has bought in from the ground floor of Mike Woodson’s gameplan. They aren’t all truly his guys but I think we can see that they fell in line and really bought into his way. Even when there were lapses in judgement (whatever those self imposed suspensions were) he’s holding them accountable and each one of our boys has responded in kind.

This year could have been just another system transitioning year, but it’s not. And here we are at the precipice of an NCAA tournament bid. Which of course should be expected for the Blue Bloods like Indiana but newsflash to anyone who hasn’t been watching this program year after year, it hasn’t been the expected outcome in quite some time. This team is on track to something great if we can build upon a head coach transition while still competing! You don’t get new head coaches because you’re programs on a hot streak. But this year isn’t just a wasted transitioning effort and that is based on Mike Woodson’s ability to get the boys to buy in and the players ability to run with his new gameplanning and techniques in stride.

So I just wanted to write this piece to just voice my opinion that this Indiana University team deserves an applause. We will see a return to form as if this season is anything its up from last year. However this season may end I’m proud of our boys for fighting each and every game. The Big Ten’s an absolute gauntlet and these guys have taken their beatings while also making sure we are dishing more damage than we are taking. I love it!

From Race Thompson coming onto the scene to become a vital cog in our offense. Or Xavier Johnson developing in his own right to better see the game play out in front of him, rather than forcing unwarranted drives. Each member of this team is committing to his role and understands its through combined and continued effort they could do something truly special.

I had ZERO expectations for this team other than TJD to remain a standout. Other than that, not one man does a Big Ten Champion make so I was resigned to some growing pains for the 2021-2022 season. Instead I get the rush of watching my team play for a shot in the Big Dance our first round coming in the form of the pseudo-elimination game against Rutgers (with a win either team looks to seal a spot in the NCAA tournament). For this I will be forever grateful to this Indiana team. The Hoosiers playing for something in March is just the best feeling for this hopeless idiot of an IU fan.

So whoevers going to be pessimistic about this season or the 5 game losing streak needs to take a breath and get the dookie out their candy stripe pants and let’s just enjoy and appreciate what else this year may have in store. I mean the field for possible NCAA Champion almost looks to be about 68 teams with how equal the playing field seems. Get in and there’s always a shot. Cheers to Mike Woodson. And Cheers to this year’s Hoosier squad for making the more appreciative and understanding of us proud! LUX ET VERITAS!!!

On to Rutgers!

Sincerely,

This hopelessly optimistic fan boy

Broncos Beat Writer: Teddy Bridgewater to Indianapolis Colts. Guy obviously knows nothing.

“I see Teddy as a perfect fit for Indy,” said Patterson on the Mile High Insiders podcast. “A one-year, two-year deal with Indy and try to see what they want to do there. I think it makes too much sense not to happen”

si.com

What an all time dunce. Classic beat reporters throwing it at the wall. I wouldn’t give this too much thought. I mean “see what we want to do here”, you gotta be kidding me with that mess!! In case the league isn’t on notice yet. THE COLTS ARE IN WIN NOW MODE. We just built the team around an empty hole waiting to be filled by a quarterback that understands the opportunity there is to win with the roster Chris Ballard has built. This type of Quarterback seems to be showing up more and more often in the NFL these days.

We got some DAWGS just waiting for an Alpha QB to lead the pack to the promised land. I’d even be able to look past the cringe factor of Mr. UNLIMITED. PLEASE GOD JUST GET THE COLTS AN ARM FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!!!

While this does seem an all time dumb move to me, I’m not paid the big bucks to make this decision and I’m smart enough to know just how dumb I am, but this just doesn’t jive with me. I will say Pat McAfee backing up this thought is a little disconcerting because I believe Pat is still very familiar with the top brass in Indianapolis. I could see him hearing a lot of noise before it’s made public… here’s hoping Pat doesn’t know anything on the matter

Fan Duel

And here’s hoping our boys get the help they deserve before my whole future is a series of “What If” reflections on the squad we current have. Get these guys a ring now, because we can’t keep this squad forever waiting for the most important piece to present itself.

These Dawgs deserve a dawg leading the offense!!!

Here’s hoping Ballard already has a plan in place, because I am really tired of having to scramble for a QB year after year. Stability is great everyone, but stability is needed at more than general manager and the head coach position. Indianapolis is in their window of success and need to capitalize this off season and free agency if the Colts don’t want to be looking back on this time and thinking, we should have gave it all for a quarterback. Either way, I’ll continue trusting the process of Chris Ballard and the Colts’ front office.

With all the hypotheticals out there currently it can be easy to spin out and go crazy as a Colts fan this off season. Without some major moves by the Colts in free agency and trading draft picks honestly, they will be dead in the water. All those who say run it back with Carson haven’t watched him over the passed 3 years of his career, and haven’t been watching the games at all I guess. That can’t be the solution. Sending only positive vibes to the front office though. Let’s go get some more dawgs this year!

Xavier Johnson everybody!!! Indiana at Minnesota recap

Going into this one Indiana was in desperate need to follow up the 5 game losing streak snapping victory over Maryland. Indiana University had to come out swinging if it didn’t want to backslide right back into the lows that were so apparent throughout that epic February losing streak. I mean no hyperbole whatsoever when I say this was a must win. Indiana is without a doubt on the fence come selection Sunday, and can not afford to put anything other than the hits out.

And the boys did not disappoint!!!

IU came out with their second win in a row. And what a game it was for Xavier Johnson! Xavier dropped 24 as he led the Hoosiers to victory in this one. Let me really lay out for you what Xavier Johnson’s been up to… In the last two games Xavier Johnson has racked up 48 points 14 assists, and 7 boards. All of this against 4 turnovers committed. What a pair of games!! He is also 7 for 9 from the 3 point arc. Xavier is stepping up like only a few Hoosiers ever have! Xavier Johnson continues to carve out his own area of my Hoosier fan heart. His game has been outstanding and he deserves all the praise heading his way!

That was a fun game to watch on our end. The Hoosiers were absolutely draining them from beyond the arc yesterday. As a team the Hoosiers shot 10 of 21 from 3 point range. If your team is sinking them, you’re going to have a good time. This hot handed Hoosier team must keep rolling, and building on this momentum if we are going to bring this absolutely necessary shooting to compete in March.

What a strange second half of two one sided acts. After going on a 30-10 run to begin the second half. They closed it out by letting up a 36-14 run by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Honestly, the game was still very much in contention until who else but Xavier Johnson sank the dagger free throws to close it out. Never not stressful watching the Hoosiers play ball for me.

These last 2 games were must wins. Looking to what’s left, I believe that Indiana gets in if they win 1 of the remaining 2 games. We still have Rutgers at home and then… at Purdue to close out the season. Both very good teams. I believe, should the Hoosiers pull one of those two out, they will be dancing.

Here’s to Xavier Johnson and our boys for stopping the bleeding and salvaging something from this season.

On to Rutgers!

1883 episode 10 “This is not your heaven” recap and final thoughts of season 1

After getting Elsa medical attention at the Fort, however quickly they did, the Duttons road on out towards their manifest destiny. Knowing full well Elsa was not going to be live to see the fruits of their excursion west. Even though Josef’s leg looked like a Cronenberg creation. He wanted to press on with Shea and the Duttons. While the two cowboys ventured out on their own. Possibly finding their own prosperity west.

Josef was presented with the less than ideal decision whether to cut his leg off or not. As not doing it meant death, the choice was pretty easy. So following getting absolutely housed on booze, it was time.

Following this we saw what happened to the immigrants who had left Shea and the Duttons for Oregon. They were jumped by a band of raiders and all murdered.

We then see Elsa getting cared for by native people who use their traditional medicines and practices to alleviate her pain. All culminating in her and her father finally addressing the state of her mortality. Leading to them racing off to find Elsa’s final resting place.

Every time but right now was absolutely brutal. End of story. I knew this to be true and the west portrayed in 1883 definitely supports that.

The episode ends with the passing of Elsa. And HOOOLLYYYY HELLL that was sad. Having to comfort your dying child is something I can not even begin to fathom… but the emotion of this scene was heavy and felt very real.

We then saw a one year time jump with Josuf beginning to build his ranch and sadly Shea blowing his brains out by the sea. Bummer. Really a slow burn of an episode. But the perfect cap to what has been an absolutely awesome watching experience.

1883 has showed not only the trials of the trail, but also how those trials shaped people, made them stronger or made them go crazy. The trail definitely puts one’s character on full display throughout this season.

All in all it’s been an awesome viewing experience for each fan of 1883. The brutality of the Oregon Trail was entertaining to watch. Following that finale, I don’t know if we will see this generation of the Duttons again, as 2 of our show’s 4 main characters is dead. Paramount has confirmed “1932” is coming out focusing on the Duttons during the great depression and prohibition. Seeing a Dutton moonshining operation will be pretty awesome to watch. I’m definitely here for it.

R.I.P. Elsa

Here’s to 1932 this fall!

Team need a drastic shift in momentum? How about some new uniforms! Indiana Hoosiers vs. Maryland postgame

MIKE WOODSON IS PLAYING 4D CHESS FOLKS!!!! Need a drastic shift in your teams emotional direction… NEW UNIFORMS BABY! Worked for the Mighty Ducks against Iceland, worked for the Indiana Hoosiers last night. These black history month inspired uniforms are an absolute thing of beauty. I’ve got to get one. The peonies (Indiana’s state flower) are an awesome addition to an ephemerally classic design.

Hoosiers ball together!!!!

Banner 6 is back on TRACK BABAY!!!! God, the month of February has made me forget why I love college basketball, hell, WHY I LOVE SPORTS!!! I didn’t play a single second in this game, but I slept the best I have all month after that one. The joy I feel in this moment is why I do this to myself. Can’t appreciate the highest of highs until you’ve experienced the lowest of lows. And yes, I get it was Maryland at home, but it snapped our monumental losing streak, so I’m going to appreciate the heck out of it.

I’m going to be honest with you, about 3/4 through this game I was pretty convinced that the Hoosiers would find a way to screw this one up. Thank God they didn’t!

The Indiana Hoosiers played well yesterday, headed by Race Thompson with 19 points. Race has become an absolutely essential piece to this team. His game gets better each day and it’s awesome to see! It was an absolute block party in Bloomington while the Hoosiers tallied 6 total blocks. Race and Trayce dominated in the front court and this aided in propelling the Hoosiers to their first win in six games.

Xavier Johnson balled out. The stat line is impressive in its own right dropping 24 points and dishing out 6 assists as well. But watching, you saw a senior that was facilitating like a master composer at times. He really was a floor general in this one.

So let’s give it up for the boys. They earned the win last night and the Hoosiers are officially out of a monumental backslide. That being said, these next 3 games are Indiana’s last chance to make some noise with some good, and solid wins. Need to be heading into March with all guns blazing. This is absolutely a step in the right direction, but we can not regress to the mindset or whatever it was that led to this epic downfall in February.

Here on out we got @Minnesota, vs. Rutgers, @ Purdue. This is where we circle the wagons and make our last strong stand. Those last two games are going to be drag out battles. Minnesota, while no slouch, does not present nearly the threat the other two teams do. I’m hoping winning 2 of these 3 will be enough to secure Indiana a bid in the NCAA tournament. If we can win out, especially with that last win in West Lafayette, Indiana would have to be in.

Dear God, please no NIT.

Indianapolis Colts in line to lock down Casey Hayward for next season?

In updating their projected landing spots for their top-50 ranked free agents of the 2022 offseason, Pro Football Focus believes the Colts will sign former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory and former Los Vegas Raiders cornerback Casey Hayward. This feels like cheating, but Hayward and Gus Bradley should be on the same team until Hayward retires. Bradley’s Cover-3 scheme fits Hayward’s skill set perfectly, as it allows him to use his instincts and smarts. The Colts could replace Xavier Rhodes with Hayward on the outside. However, coverage performance from year to year can be streaky. Hayward recorded a 59.5 PFF grade in 2020 and then a 76.6 in 2021, but he could just as easily revert back to a sub-60 grade in 2022.” – Kevin Hickey, USA today.

Just to catch you all up on Casey Hayward… It’s been 4 years since he’s nabbed a spot on the NFL top 100 list. But, this guy’s still got game though… Big Trust.

This signing would be a huge boost in addressing our looming free agent holes. With Pro Bowl cornerback Kenny Moore headlining, Casey Hayward brings skill and MASSIVE experience to the Colts second CB position. I think this signing is a no brainer, unlike the current QB situation.

While Casey Hayward lacks the hands of most corners(who already aren’t receivers largely due to lack of hands), he has experience for days over most of the league. This experience is sooooo massively important for a cornerback. This experience allows a player to know where to be on the field. He’s seen it all, and in turn, knows how to counter it all!

While most sites and media outlets see Indianapolis as the landing spot for Hayward this offseason, this signing will go a small way in locking up a Super Bowl quality team for Indianapolis. The only other problem is addressing the Edge and QB positions. Easily the two most important positions in the game… so while this is a sign of promising acquisitions to come, I need to hear that we can lock up those other two positions if the Colts have any shot in hell this year!

Given the previous relationship between new Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley and Casey Hayward, this will be a great match. While many thought Hayward may have fallen off last year, he stepped up and contributed to a stout Raiders secondary. Here’s to Casey Hayward on the Colts!!!!

As is always the case, I write this FOR THE SHOE!

Let’s not make it 6 and maybe win a game in February. Indiana Hoosiers vs. Maryland pregame thoughts

Alright. Here we go. Fifth times the charm Hoosier Nation! This will be the fifth opportunity the Hoosiers to stop the bleeding and save our season. We need a win here. I feel dumb for having even typed that. No duh!!! Our season is currently a five alarm fire and unless we win today… I’m afraid we are out of the tournament for sure. And I know it’s gotta be bad because I may be the most hopelessly optimistic Hoosier fan there is on Earth.

Just so you have an idea of where we are currently sitting in the eyes of the nation…

The Hoosiers are reaching a point where every game is heartbreaking, but the particular form of heartbreak varies. At Ohio State, a short-handed IU team, missing Rob PhiniseeTrey Galloway and Khristian Lander, rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit and even built a four-point lead. It was an inspired performance from a team that had previously looked fearful. But Indiana was held scoreless over the last 2:47 in regulation and lost 80-69 in overtime. That makes five losses in a row, and the Hoosiers have dropped to “last four in” status.

John Gasaway, ESPN

Unfortunately, looks like any more losses, especially a loss to Maryland at home, would be the final nail in the coffin. We haven’t been able to close out a game all month. It’s pretty mind blowing! The worst possible evidence of this was definitely the end of regulation for that Ohio State game. How are you supposed to win anything when you can’t score a single bucket in the last 3 minutes of the game! 1 bucket, 1 FREE THROW EVEN!!!! Would have secured the Hoosiers an essential win in Columbus against the Buckeyes. But alas, the Hoosiers couldn’t score a single point.

Watching Indiana Hoosier basketball this month has been absolutely gut wrenching. Just watching a game is a stress inducer I haven’t felt since each and every game was the biggest deal ever back when Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo were preseason #1. Which I think means I had such high hopes for this Indiana Hoosiers squad this year. Who wouldn’t have those hopes with the unexpected success we had towards the beginning of the year. Trayce Jackson-Davis staying really set the tone for this team to start the season.

All of this program momentum seems to have been spent and entirely stomped out by this 5 game losing streak. It’s been a true return to form. Unfortunately that form is the same program that falls in February. That being said, I believe that once Mike Woodson gets his guys in there, we will get the program back on track. So I wasn’t expecting anything this year really.

So going into this Maryland game today. I am going to still give Mike Woodson the benefit of the doubt. Its been 3/4 of a season, not time to totally freak out just yet. Once he has the guys he recruited specifically for his system, then we can judge him.

As always… Go IU FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!!

Shout out Jeff Howard

Michael Pittman Jr. named Colts’ most improved player this season by Pro Football Focus

Pittman Jr., who finished with 88 receptions for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns, was named the Colts’ most improved player Feb. 17 by Pro Football Focus, edging out Taylor and the likes of linebacker Bobby Okereke and cornerback Isaiah Rodgers for the distinction. A second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Southern California, Pittman Jr. emerged as a true No. 1 receiver under head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Marcus Brady in his second year in the NFL.

Josh Carney, si.com
Hops bruh. Hops.

I gotta say, not the obvious choice. But I’d say probably the best choice. I mean don’t get me wrong Jonathon Taylor had one of the greatest seasons of all time *Kanye voice*, but we all new last year JT23 was a stud. So I like them not choosing him outright. And, while really observing the Indianapolis Colts you can see why Pittman got the nod.

Pittman definitely took a leap forward in his game from last year. A 1,000 yard season is nothing to scoff at. I mean, we all knew he had special talent last year, as we all saw small glimpses of it from time to time. These glimpses have been snowballing in order to present themselves more and more each and every Sunday. While his stats improved significantly, it’s his impact on the other aspects of the game that have also begun to really shine. His growth has demanded more attention from opposing secondaries. When more and more attention is spent on 1 receiver, the rest of that receiving corp gets less and less defensive attention. Now its just a matter of getting someone to aid Michael Pittman some help in the form of a receiver who can truly capitalize on this lessening attention.

This continuing development of Michael Pittman’s game is essential to the success of the Colts’ offense this coming season. In Pittman, I believe we’ve found our 3rd down receiver. He will need to become a certified target man that demands double team attention if we want to have the rest of the field open. Like opening the deep ball if the Colts’ are able to go get the deep threat they so desperately need. His continuing development won’t only make his game better, but the game of everyone else around him better as well. While Wide Receiver remains a top priority for Chris Ballard and the Colts’ front office, we can see that we’ve got half of that position figured out when we drafted Pittman. Now its just a matter of getting the deep threat and support guys that we want.

You’ve got to love Michael Pittman Jr. getting his shine. His work over the last two years has really paid off and his game is improving each and every day it seems. Only problem is now with Carson Wentz all but out the door, the Indianapolis Colts don’t know who is our deep threat to capitalize on Michael Pittman’s attention grabbing game, we also don’t know who will be trying to throw those deep threats and 10 yard targets to Michael Pittman Jr. Time to get this figured out and really show out next season. Ballard’s job may depend on it.

A look at the Aaron Rodgers destination odds from Vegas, and the Colts’ place in those odds.

Green Bay Packers-250
Denver Broncos+350
San Francisco 49ers+800
Pittsburgh Steelers+1200
Indianapolis Colts+1200
Tampa Bay Buccaneers+1400
New Orleans Saints+2000
these are the odds currently available on Draft Kings

We are looking to land a whale here in Indianapolis. Looking at these odds, I actually gain some confidence. See whenever I actually picture Aaron Rodgers as an Indianapolis Colt it seems like a pipe dream. If the number 12 were to be resurrected for Aaron, I may finally be able to come to terms with the way Andrew Luck left us (Yes it still hurts!!! We should have 2 rings with this squad and him under center! So Yeah STILL HURTS!!!). It looks like Vegas is more than convinced Aaron Rodgers will remain in Green Bay. The fact the Denver Broncos are favored so heavily over the other options doesn’t make much sense to me personally. It’s a new day in the NFL. There’s a new generation of QBs on the scene and no single division is that more apparent than in the AFC West. Do you think Old Man Rodgers wants to face both Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes II twice a season. If he can dictate where he’s going at all then why would he want to head there. That ain’t it chief.

Looking at Indianapolis’ odds gives me confidence that Aaron Rodgers the Colt is an actual possibility. I genuinely felt, before really looking into the odds, that Pittsburgh would be a potential landing spot that actually made sense for all involved. Seeing the Indianapolis Colts have the same odds to land him gets me very excited. A lot of the times I overthink Indianapolis Colts odds or news and assume I’m seeing stuff align because I want to, almost wishful thinking on my part. But, wishful thinking that I can identify and often times I discredit the real stories because I convince myself its too good to be true (My teams across all sports have hurt me in case you can’t tell).

So confirmed. Rodgers to Indianapolis has potential legs here!!! Tied for 3rd in odds (other than GB again) is a very nice place to be sitting in my opinion. Just looking at each of the teams on this list I get confidence in knowing that anyone looking at those names and asks themselves who’s a QB away from winning a Super Bowl, I think Indianapolis is the no brainer. Jonathon Taylor’s run game will open the field, while an amazing offensive line is blocking, and Darius is leading the stout defense. What’s not to love there… I guess the wide receiver situation. Pittman is still growing into a stud in this league, but if we could go get Allen Robinson and have a legitimate deep threat, I don’t see how he couldn’t want to come to Indianapolis.

Last thing…

How crazy is it that Jordan Love will be taken in the first round and then never even receive a shot for that team? What a garbage move that pick was. Should have let the Colts get him Green Bay. I mean on the bright side, how important is it to hit on your first round picks? *sarcasm*

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