Mike Woodson is showing us he can recruit. Now it’s time to prove he can develop. Short Thoughts on Jordan Geronimo.

Jordan Geronimo ended last season showcasing some of his superb athletic capabilities. Through the Big Ten Tournament and into the First Four game, Jordan began displaying bits of his potential. While he wasn’t getting any starting lineup love, he was given prominent minutes in our tournament run, including the Big Ten Tourney). Jordan Geronimo’s 15 pts against Wyoming were essential in locking up and validating our tournament bid in that First Four game. He has showed hints of truly elite and dominant play. But has yet to string it all together for any substantial amount of time. His raw ability and athleticism are present. I believe he just needs to tighten up his game and grow in consistency, and this 2022-2023 Hoosier squad that is beginning to take shape is just the team to do that on.

Whenever I reflect on our more recent teams I often find myself comparing them to the teams that I was most familiar with, the teams that were playing in the Hall during my time on campus (2011-2015). Which in the context of wanting to see a raw talent blossom into an NBA talent, may be unfair to Jordan, because I was consistently in the Hall to witness Oladipo’s development into the second pick in the NBA draft after entering Indana University as a 3-star recruit out of the DMV.

That being said, I genuinely believe there is a chance that the Jordan Geronimo we see next season could be a shocking surprise to those not on watch for it. In my personal, and very biased opinion, Jordan Geronimo can absolutely improve to an elite level by next season’s tip.

This will be Jordan Geronimo’s 3rd season within the Indiana Hoosier’s program, his 3rd season training in Cook Hall and its many resources. I feel it in my bones, this is the year that Jordan Geronimo takes the jump. Pure conjecture here, but he sees that more and more talent coming in means less and less minutes up for grabs. The frame and game is there for Geronimo, he now needs to work to sharpen his strengths and address his weaknesses. This offseason could potentially be career defining for Geronimo.

With Malik Reneau and Jalen Hood-Schifino already well acquainted with each others’ game and tendencies, much of those being shaped by Montverde’s pick and roll oriented offense, I think they can easily fold into whatever scheme Mike Woodson comes up with. This offense stands to be moving with a rhythm and tempo that has been lost in Bloomington for quite sometime now.  This is going to open up the floor, and not allow defenses to simply target our one producer in a given night, an occurrence that seemed all too familiar with anyone watching the second half of last season. These new opportunities allow guys to develop, by allowing hot streaks to play out. It’s in those hot streak moments where guys start to see what they can truly do on the court. It’s about getting as many of these guys to believe that they can go off at any moment by tournament time. The confidence truly bleeds into the player’s game and onto the court. I think a more fluid offense will help enforce this confidence for each player across the board.

If Jordan Geronimo can take this offseason to fill up the tank, gain some more muscle, work on that jump shot, and see that his game is going to be best used banging at the rim. I could see him being a key piece in our starting lineup by March. While shooting will be key, we’ve seen that from time to time he can still shoot. Again the guy has shown glimpse after glimpse of his potential. He just now needs to put it all together.

He needs to be the focus of moments like these.

Mike Woodson is showing that he can recruit. Now it’s time for him to show that he can develop. This will be Mike’s year ro prove that he can take the guys he’s getting and make them even better. This offseason for him will be crucial for the development of the program as a whole. If he is able to invest enough into Jordan Geronimo’s development, I think he stands to gain a rather impressive feather for his cap.

This article was written by a total biased fan boy. Just writing to pass the time until he can sit back and watch the candy stripes get back at it in Assembly Hall. Pure conjecture. Pure anxiety therapy.

LUX ET VERITAS!

Malik Reneau just made a great recruiting class SUPERB. Credit Jalen with his first career assist. Short thoughts.

I’m kind of in shock. Really when it was all playing out it made some semblance of sense, but nonetheless, I’m still in shock.

What an absolutely awesome thing to happen on what is normally one of the worst Mondays back to work. This is an absolutely incredible moment for our program. When Malik Reneau decommitted from Florida following their coaching change, I had the smallest glimmer of hope. Hope that Montverde forward Reneau would want to follow up his high school national championship run with a college run along with the same man dishing him the assists, Jalen Hood-Schifino.

So I’m going to come out and say that this big get is Jalen Hood-Schifino’s first assist for the Indiana Hoosiers. He really had to play the most essential role in convincing Malik to commit to play ball in the Hall. Credit to him. He is racking up wins for us and has yet to take the court. I love it!

These guys have championship chemistry. Their time together in high school is going to pay dividends on their ability to produce for the Hoosiers right out of the gate. The 5 we stand to have taking the court if our recruits are able to step up to the college game is truly dangerous. And elaborating a little on whether or not they will translate their games quickly to the college level, I have to say, they were playing at Montverde! Each game they played, they were playing against top recruits in the nation and BEATING THEM! They’ve been playing the most talented future stars of the game for much of their recent years and coming out on top with a High School national title again this year. I have no worry that these boys will step on campus and quickly prove that they not only have the goods, but they have got the GREATS.

Remember when Trayce and Xavier were playing the pick and roll to success this season? Jalen and Malik have been running the pick and roll at Montverde heavily, to much success. Their game is going to greatly impact the flow of the offense, allowing various guys relied on heavily last year to get open and freed up, thus creating other offensive threats. And with the prospective shooters coming in as well, this is very promising. Whatever gameplan Mike Woodson will seek to utilize on the offensive end Malik and Jalen stand to find immediate roles.

Renaue is ranked #21 on ESPN nationally. A certified stud. Joining Jalen Hood (#24), Kaleb Banks(#79), and CJ Gunn as the freshmen on the Hoosiers team next year. And what does this mean?

This means Indiana has jumped up the recruiting rankings into the 5th spot (according to 247 sports) for the upcoming season. The top spot in the Big Ten. And that is what it takes to compete in today’s NCAA landscape. You need to get the top recruits to consistently be battling in March and into April. And after his first season on record, he is bringing in top talent! It’s great to see that the program is in the hands of a true recruiter now. Above all else in NCAA Basketball, RECRUITING IS KING!

We finally got a closer.

Mike Woodson has been able to make such an immediate impact that I believe that this should absolutely be enough for the few dejectors to see that Indiana is on the mend. We are making the necessary moves to compete at the truly elite level. We are getting the guys, and if that means we need to trust that Mike Woodson’s disciplinary or administrative decisions, we need to do just that. The program is in good hands and we need to believe that and trust that until we can no longer do so.

Here’s to Coach Woodson for coming into Bloomington and changing the program for the better right out of the gate.

Just a little fan boy tangent, I can’t take the off season. I’m chomping at the bit to get back in front of the TV and watch the Hoosiers. This transfer portal era has made the offseason so much more open and really anxiety inducing. I am just hoping we win more than we lose in the portal. This team is going to be a lot to be excited about. This is the beginning of many good things to come. Here’s hoping we can capitalize on some of this elite talent while we still got them. These guys may not be long for college basketball. I NEED COLLEGE BASKETBALL BACK!!!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Why you shouldn’t be too worried about Trayce Jackson declaring for the draft. Short Thoughts.

No reason to go scorched Earth yet people. This is all part of the process for a guy in the position that TJD finds himself in. While many are freaking out that there goes another leaving, there is no reason to be seriously worried that Trayce won’t play for the Hoosiers just yet. While throwing his name into the draft may seem like his exit from Indiana to those unfamiliar with the process, I personally don’t believe he is all in on the draft just yet.

This is all Trayce Jackson-Davis jockeying himself for the best possible position after next season. While he declared this year, he has up until June 1 to back out and retain his eligibility. But having declared allows for him to workout with NBA programs and attend the combine next month. Doing all of this allows Trayce to get insight into where he stacks up talent wise, but more importantly gives him critiques to his game straight from the people drafting in today’s NBA. These workouts will be essential towards Trayce finding out just what he needs to address in his game to prepare for the league next year.

Who can blame him. If he’s still able to retain his eligibility and participate in pre draft activities, what is there to lose for him? I imagine he will continue to work out with the team and use the Indiana facilities and when he’s not he may be training with some elite NBA trainers and others that will definitely aid him and tell him exactly where he stands to improve in order to maximize his potential. By doing this process this year, and even attending the combine, he will be able to learn even more about the draft process. A practice draft for yourself isn’t a bad thing to have.

We need these two both steering this ship next season!

I don’t believe there is any way that we stand to lose Trayce next season. Trayce Jackson-Davis doesn’t seem to be on many mock drafts as of late, and he and his corner are well aware of this. No way they would put him in anything other than his best possible situation. And all things considered, Indiana is just that! Indiana by all barometers (albeit not very calibrated in the days of NIL deals) Indiana stands to be a team on the national radar next year. With young talent coming in, and a wide open transfer portal Indiana could put a mean team on the floor with Trayce at the helm.

Trayce knows how much Indiana fans love him and I think he’s one of the few guys on the squad that truly gets how prestigious a role, and how great an opportunity they have playing for the Hoosiers. He still stands to make more at Indiana under the Name Image and Likeness deals than he does playing in the G League. While I believe Trayce has NBA talent, and while I may be biased, I would think he wants to take this final year to put it all together with a contender and boost his profile playing on a hyped up Hoosiers team.

All of this to say, I do not speak for TJD! Whatever his next year holds I’ll be following it for sure… but man I really, really hope it’s in Assembly Hall. Trayce Jackson-Davis has absolutely earned his pinstripes in Bloomington. Here’s to his future and here’s to it hopefully being as the chief of the Indiana Hoosiers next season.

Looking forward to tons of “I’m Coming Home” tributes when he announces a return.

That song’s an absolute tune.

LUX ET VERITAS!

Thad Matta Leaves Indiana for the Butler Head Coaching job. Short thoughts.

Alright, so another unexpected departure in the Woodson era. But this one should be seen as much more comforting and I don’t think there should be much issue with anybody from it. I was so pleased when I read the news on this hire. Thad Matta taking the Head coaching job at Butler is great for him! I have to think anyone with a grain of sympathy or a grain of intelligence, should know this is for the best, while we will miss his input on our program. If the man wants to coach and he finally sees that he can again, he should get out there and coach.

After his tenure aiding Mike Woodson in structuring his program, an opening has presented itself to Thad Matta and I wish him all the luck running the Butler program, so long as it isn’t against Indiana.

He’s heading home and good for him. He’s been battling illness while he’s been getting older and him accepting this job is a sign of good things for him and his family. Heading up a program as Head Coach is no job for somebody who can’t get up and get at it to get recruits while managing the guys you got. So I hope this means he’s got a full tank and can get a second life as a head coach. Just stay outta the Big Ten Thad and we won’t have any problems.

With his all-time record at 439-154. Thad Matta brings a breadth of knowledge to the Butler Bulldogs that can rival any active NCAA coach. His tenure at Ohio State should be known all too well to us Indiana fans who found themselves on the receiving end of much of those teams’ success.

That head coaching record places Thad Matta at 4th in best winning percentages among all active NCAA head coaches. While already revered throughout College Basketball, Thad is looking to even further cement himself in the history of the game. If he’s able to win anything of significance for the Butler Bulldogs I don’t see how he doesn’t go down as a truly great coach within collegiate basketball history. While still not winning a title is a black mark on the record, he will go down as one of the more storied coaches there are.

Indiana fans shouldn’t feel too bad for the departure either. Mike Woodson seems set to run the program as he likes. For better or worse, we shall see. If he needed Thad’s input Indiana would throw any and all necessary cash his way to keep him on within his pseudo-advisory role. While I would think I’d be fine and comfortable getting paid by Indiana to advise on basketball, apparently Thad wants another crack at it and thinks he’s up for it. More power to him. I sincerely wish him all success that doesn’t directly interfere with that of the Hoosiers. While yes, he is going to an instate school, we don’t deal with them enough for this to be a problem!

Going back to coach for a second time at his Alma Mater is a great privilege. While Butler hasn’t been the Butler of the Brad Stevens days, it’s still a very storied program. Cheers to them for going to Thad with the job offer. Ya gotta love a school going and getting one of their own. Almost like promoting from within. Ya love to see it in business, and ya gotta love to see it in basketball programs. Indiana made that move, and now Butler is as well.

Here’s to Thad’s second wind and here’s to him remaining healthy enough to start up his career again at age 54. Man… I thought he was older than that.

LUX ET VERITAS!

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!!!

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!!!

Time to dance like EVERYONE’S watching… because they are. (Big 10 tourney recap/Wyoming Primer)

Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.

Oscar Wilde, 19th century Irish poet and probable Hoosier fan.

I think that’s exactly what this Big Ten Tournament run the Hoosiers went on was. Unexpected. It was unexpected for these guys to go on a tear like they did. It was unexpected for Trayce to play like we all knew he was capable of. And, it was unexpected for the Hoosiers to plant their stake in the NCAA tournament. If you say you saw this coming… you did not watch the last 10 games of out season… These boys need applauded for showing up. If this can snowball into a tournament run, I’m sure quite a few of us will be eating crow for our thoughts on how the regular season had ended.

Indiana really did let that Iowa game slip away. But nonetheless I’m very happy with what we just saw this week. Mike Woodson had flipped something in these guys that made them start believing in themselves and eachother.

Trayce is an Indiana legend now. I don’t care what you think! What an absolute monster out there! Iowa looked small. And funny thing is Trayce doesn’t play big, he’s just uber athletic. His game just made him look like a giant amongst men. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough. But a credit to TJD this postseason. Just need to keep this thing rolling.

I can’t begin to explain how proud I am of these boys. They deserve all the credit in the world. The Indiana team that showed up to this Big Ten Tournament is an entirely different group of men than the boys we saw close out the Big Ten regular season.

You can say what you will about how the Iowa game ended. All I know is the show these boys put on locked up our placement in the tournament. So…. we are dancing this year!

We dancin’

Now onto Wyoming…

The Hoosiers found themselves in the first four games with our spots being taken by some bid stealers, Virginia Tech stealing an ACC bid being the best example. We are matching up against Wyoming for the 12 seed play in game. Tuesday, March 13 at 9:10 PM. I fully expect to come out and beat the Cowboys. I’m looking for Xavier to step up in this one, this game will largely be played in the post between Trayce Jackson-Davis and Wyoming’s Graham Ike, and we will need Xavier to step up and produce when the frontcourt battle may seem blow for blow. Although if Trayce can keep his momentum rolling from the Big Ten tournament, I don’t believe Wyoming will have an answer. Indiana’s roster is objectively more talented than Wyoming’s. Indiana is opening as -3.5 favorites.

Both teams top scoring players, are undersized 5s. Now while Indiana’s got maybe the best undersized 5 in the NCAA, Wyoming’s Graham Ike is no joke. He is nearly averaging a double double, with 19.6 ppg and 9.6 rebounds. These battle will be continuous. So while these guys may, for lack of a better phrase, “cancel each other out. It will be crucial to see who can step up among the supporting casts on either squad. I’m looking for Trey to absolutely make a statement in this tournament. Hoping to see him get some good shots up, lord knows we could use it.

While I fully expect to head into Dayton and handle our business tomorrow night, I’m going to say win or lose, this season is a success folks. In 1 season Mike Woodson has gotten us back to the Big Dance! What an awesome first year it’s been for the true Hoosier. We outperformed during the initial parts of the season, but are again starting to find our pace. I really think that Indiana has a chance to make a run this March. While the Big Ten hasn’t really had the greatest showings in recent years, mostly due to them beatin’ the heck out of each other and limping into the tournament, I really think that Indiana could go on a run. Why not!?! If we are making any shots, we can absolutely beat anyone in this tournament. Purdue is an awful matchup for us with their large frontcourt, but we beat them once and nearly beat them again, so I’m confident we can step up to the occasion again.

Get ready folks!!! It’s going down tomorrow night! March basketball is here and man… if it doesn’t feel amazing… Here’s to pumping our boys today and tomorrow before the game. Here’s to Indiana finally being back in the tournament. Here’s to first year coach Mike Woodson, keep trending up Mike. Lastly, here’s to Trayce Jackson-Davis, he’s going to have to work to show up and dominate this game… Which bodes well, because TJD is just now hitting his stride. Get excited yall!!!!

LUX ET VERITAS!

THERE IS NO RIDE LIKE COLLEGE BASKETBALL! (Hoosiers Big Ten Tournament Pt. 2 of 5)

This is why we do this to ourselves. That feeling we have right now. This is why we are glued to our seats each and every single game. Because the lows of college basketball, make highs like this so much sweeter. I could not believe what I was witnessing… I just saw Indiana make a 28 to 4 run to close out what appears to be a tournament bid solidifier. Writing that after watching the course of this season is almost unbelievable. I say “almost” because there were hints of THIS squad sprinkled earlier in the season.

Early 19th Century writer William Hazlitt once said, “If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory”. And I believe that quote rings true throughout the Hoosier’s response to Michigan’s first half ravaging. The guys came out of halftime with the faith that they were not out of it. I’ll be the first among us to admit I was resigned to defeat by halftime. Who could blame me? I am just so glad our Hoosiers did not fall into that mindset at all. We saw a team with faith in each other, come out and fought their way back into the NCAA tournament in that second half! The craziest thing is you can see their faith and confidence just snowball out of control. It was truly special to witness. The Indiana team in that second half, was no team I’ve watched this year. They played with confidence. The shots weren’t taken in fear, as so many appear to have been in our prior 8 games or so.

Tjd had a gre….. sorry.

TJD!!!!!!! was a man possessed in that 2nd half. That is what he is capable of when playing at his most confident, and trusting that his guys will open the floor just enough for him to mess up the paint! 19 second half points while holding Hunter Dickinson to 2 points in the second half. Trayce has this in him. I just hope to God he realized it this game and can carry this confidence into Illinois.

That was fun basketball to watch, and the guys looked like they were legitimately enjoying their time on the court for the first time in who knows how long. Shooting is contagious, confidence is contagious, and playing with an edge is contagious. I honestly am picking my brain for a different word, but the only word I can really use to describe the x factor of that second half is “swagger”. Our Hoosiers looked to be carrying themselves like a new group of men out there. The boys got on a run, built their confidence and started believing in themselves. The swagger was a product of that and I am here for it.

Geronimo with the +22 while giving Race the rest he needs is the stuff March legends are made of.

We needed this one against Michigan folks. With a shot to play for the NCAA tournament still a very real possibility, Indiana had to do everything in its power to will out a win after the crushing blow that was that 2 point Purdue loss. And after a crushing first half, mental toughness and self confidence prevailed. I’m proud of our team for this one.

But alas… we’ve got a big one ahead of us! Illinois is the 1 seed for a reason, they are a powerful team this year. But the team I just saw come out at the half was a collection of world beaters. After watching what may be the most emotionally exhausting season of Indiana Basketball I can remember, I am confident that this can carry over into the next. Meaning Indiana will be getting hot at the most important time to. March. While the evidence to the contrary is apparent through our season I will say there is a difference. Indiana didn’t just steal a game back in the second half. They came out and dictated it. Dictated the game in a manner that has yet to be seen this season. I am so glad this game is the very next day. Doesn’t give the guys time to get in their own heads and thus get in their own way. Don’t think, just trust. Trust your game, trust your brothers’ games, and trust that the Hoosiers can be absolutely dominant.

On to Illinois!!!!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!

-pt 1 of 4: https://flyoverwire.com/2022/03/09/your-indiana-hoosiers-vs-michigan-wolverines-primer-big-ten-tournament-pt-1-of-4/

Your Indiana Hoosiers vs. Michigan Wolverines Primer (Big Ten Tournament Pt. 1 of 5)

So our boys are heading into to the game tomorrow in the #9 seed facing off with the #8 seed Michigan. Now at the beginning of the season I fully expected for us to find ourselves playing on Thursday for Mike Woodson’s debut Big Ten tournament. Who I did not expect to see playing Thursday at the beginning of the season was the Michigan Wolverines. I mean guys… I know we’ve taken some tough heartbreak this season… but Michigan’s season must be another rollercoaster of let downs. Being preseason #6, they thought the Big Ten was there’s to lose, and if everyone’s honest with themselves, so did the rest of the Big Ten. But here we both find ourselves playing in the same game to potentially square off against the #1 seed Illinois.

Both of these team’s are currently sitting just on the fringe of most bracketology reports. ESPN has Indiana as the first team out, while Michigan is one of the last four bye teams so one of the last 8 in reality. Which means both teams will be giving it their absolute all Thursday.

Indiana needs guys willing to shoot. We ended that last Purdue game down 2 points. For the final 10 minutes of that bout, our boys were passing up wide open shots like the entire team had no interest in scoring. Nobody wanted the pressure of potentially missing that shot so nobody took it. They flipped the ol “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” quote, and made it “you miss 0% of the shots you NEVER take”.

So Xavier Johnson (1st Indiana All-time heart team if you ask me) put it upon himself to win the game. Taking poor shots, sure, but shots that needed to be taken with the mentality of his teammates at the time. And that’s not to say they weren’t putting forth an effort it was just everyone else was playing so timid, that Xavier had no choice but to be a little reckless if we had any shot in that one.

He’s going to do everything he can to take care of us.

After pondering what it will take to beat Michigan, I really saw two glaring issues that need to be addressed.

First, our boys need to bring their hands this game. The Hoosiers seemed to be playing volleyball with their rebounds last weekend. Like past the point of errors, into full blown yips territory with it. We were tipping every rebound in every possible direction it seemed. That cannot happen Thursday or we are dead in the water. The only thing that kills momentum more than a dagger three pointer, is a second chance dagger three pointer. We definitely had a few of those last game. While Purdue was dribbling off their own feet to keep us in that game, we just can not count on Michigan to be so courteous. Grab the ball, record the board, and let’s get on with it. Can’t be ping ponging it around the basket with Michigan.

Second, the Hoosiers ABSOLUTELY MUST be willing to fail. Theordore Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Our boys played timid in West Lafayette. If they can step up their own confidence and trust their game to take more chances we could eliminate the need for absolutely bananas shots from Xavier Johnson (again no disrespect on him. The man did what had to be done. Left it all out there for better or worse). What have you got to lose boys? Indiana is a rabid, very well versed fan base. I can’t speak for everyone. But I’m not expecting world beaters to all of a sudden show up. All I really want is to see the team play with more confidence… and in turn, really just more fun. What’s fun about timid play. Isn’t fun to watch, can’t imagine it’s too fun too play.

All talk of confidence and fun aside, this is a huge game. MASSIVE. Indiana looks to have a 3rd chance to make a last ditch statement to get into the tournament. Beat Michigan we are mmmaaayyybbbeee in the dance, barring just a slew of tournament upsets resulting in automatic bids being dished out to otherwise excluded teams around the country. Beat Michigan and Illinois, we are in. I have to imagine that if it’s between Indiana and a mid major jockeying for an at large bid, a tie in resume would go to Indiana. Because, the selection committee can say there is nothing but the resume considered, but they would definitely like the large and willing to spend Indiana fan base to be attending the NCAA tournament.

So here’s to 3rd times the charm on big, crucial, resume building games after the Rutgers and Purdue losses. Here’s to Mike Woodson giving us games in March to care about again, even in this his transition year. And here’s to gassing our boys up. Confidence will be crucial in this one.

Lastly, Mike may want to keep a lookout for rogue head palmings.

On to dismantling the Big Ten starting with Michigan,

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Michigan Head Coach Juwan Howard Has to Be Out At Michigan After Punching Wisconsin’s coach!

Here are his words after this event.

Juwan Howard throwing blows!!! So… Michigan is an absolute clown show. I can’t imagine having witnessed this from my head coach. What an absolute joke Juwan Howard is for this one.

sucker punched by a sucker.

First on the blow itself. You can really tell when a coach is on the hot seat. Especially one that has only really seen tremendous success as a player. How many times do schools need to learn… **Cough MEMPHIS COUGH COUGH** Just because someone found success as a player means they’ll be a good suit to head your program. In fact, I would argue that their conditioned acceptance of success and accolades makes them the last person you want at the helm to fix a losing situation. Juwan Howard has now trumped Penny Hardaway for worst of this category of coach.

What grown man with a family, a comfortable life, and really anything to lose throws a punch? Soooo childish. You can’t be doing that in real life. What could honestly possess someone to do it on national television? I can’t even comprehend his logic here.

Also, I’m not saying he’s an absolute punk for throwing a sucker punch in the middle of a scrum like that, but… HE’S AN ABSOLUTE PUNK FOR THROWING A SUCKER PUNCH IN THE MIDDLE OF A SCRUM LIKE THAT!!! And yes, it was to his face but it was a complete sucker punch. We see scrums like this start to break out in sports everyday. Hot heads competing at the highest levels have to let it out sometimes. The difference is its almost understood ya belly up and bark like a dog then everyone breaks it up. Going to blows is totally bananas.

I thought Juwan Howard was a garbage coach. But this game told me he’s a garbage human. Watch that post game interview and tell me he isn’t. How’s he going to get up there and be such a jackass? Pretty much defending his actions, DEFENDING ASSAULT. Him not understanding how major it is apparent. I would imagine anyone who held that position and did that would immediately have their life flash before their eyes, because they would be afraid of losing EVERYTHING. But not Juwan, he’s going to take a mic, and get annoyed at you for asking, in honestly the kindest way possible to him, about the incident. Show a little awareness Juwan.

I honestly wonder how he’s handling it right now… did he sleep soundly last night? Because, if that is the case, I think I can play keyboard psychologist and diagnose him as a full blown sociopath. Michigan’s entire basketball program is on fire. At this point, he’s got to be out right? Michigan is bringing in top recruits but what does outbursts like this do to that. Will guys be fired up to play for a coach willing to throw blows for them. Or, and the more likely outcome, it deters recruits and certainly their parents from entrusting him with the recruits.

All in all. It’s a bad day to be Juwan Howard, even if he doesn’t know it. May be an even worse day to be a Michigan fan. This moment will be cataloged in the story of Michigan basketball. Whether it was the catalyst for Howard’s departure, or a footnote in his success years from now. I’m willing to bet he’s out though.

A true “Michigan man”.

-Burke

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑