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!!!

Final Statements, Mike Woodson needs to back Xavier Johnson in this moment (optics people. optics.) Short thoughts.

I posted why I thought Xavier Johnson should be held to a 5 game suspension in order to reconcile (hardly) for the charges brought against him, barring any further ramifications. I read many of the comments and the discussions across a few platforms and just wanted to elaborate a bit on what there is to lose from a potential dismissal.

I know the arrest of Xavier has been the subject of our discourse for the last few days, I just really want to alleviate, even a little, those calling for a Xavier Johnson’s dismissal from the program that is so dear to so many of us. I want to make make the case that whatever you may think, if this ship can be steered in the right direction, Mike Woodson stands to gain a significant feather in his coaching and recruiting cap.

Many of those calling for his head, point to the stupidity of the actions that Xavier made the night of his arrest. And I am not here to defend those actions as they are just that, stupidity incarnate. The dumb decisions of a truly unappreciative individual. The actions made by Xavier Johnson were incredibly air headed and dangerous.

But for the betterment of the Program, I say those in power to do so have to aid Xavier in rehabbing his situation and his character altogether. Mike Woodson can’t simply turn his back on a guy that chose to come and contribute to Indiana Basketball. Yes, I get that he doesn’t have the perspective to truly appreciate the situation he finds himself in. But where better to instill that in him than Indiana University?

Being a starter for Indiana University, heck as a player at all, is a role that kids dream of, that many of us taking the time to read about Indiana Basketball and consume it religiously would have killed for. A role that Xavier Johnson has truly, undoubtedly, and absolutely taken for granted. While that alone can piss any of the Hoosier Faithful off to no end, for the sake of the Program we need to look for anyway to make this story have a happy ending.

I’ve seen many people arguing that they would never do this. While I get the reasoning, its a fairly narrowminded way to frame this situation. We don’t know Xavier Johnson’s upbringing. While some may have had parents and a network coming up that instilled core beliefs of discipline and proper societal decorum, we can not speak to the upbringing of others. We can not speak to his life experience. This man needs personal accountability. And ultimately maybe it will take losing everything for him to appreciate anything, but I really hope we can exercise our options before calling for Xavier to be booted out the door.

IF ONLY FOR RECRUITMENTS SAKE!!!

In the days of some people backing Juwan Howard’s actions as defending his team, optics are everything. When times get tough the recruits around the nation want to play for a guy that will go to the mat for them. And while this is for better or worse, it is what it is in today’s recruiting game. We need to adapt or continue to live in our stagnant state. Hoping to get back to the Indiana days of old is becoming more and more a pipe dream in the ever evolving days of the NIL and more and more extensive recruiting. The top tier athletes are pampered because they’ve been hearing they’re the best all their lives. Because for most of them it is true. This is just the nature of the beast now. The carrot beats the stick on the recruitment trail these days. If we want the best, we need to play the game. Rehabbing Xavier’s character and perspective will greatly aid Mike Woodson in the frontier that is recruiting today.

What presents a better image and representation of Indiana University, kicking him out the door, or proving to others that you leave Indiana University a better person than you arrived?

All this being said, we don’t even know he’s cleared the justice system yet. So by God, who knows…

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!!!

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/

Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State post game short thoughts

Well… that stinks. Indiana doesn’t just like torturing me. It loves building my confidence in the Hoosiers up for 3 months only to swiftly let me down in the most violently painful losing streaks imaginable. We are in an utter free fall. Mike Woodson’s trying to pull a parachute but someone seems to have swapped his chute with a block of lead.

I don’t blame Mike Woodson entirely, these aren’t his guys. The stink from Archie Miller still persists through the hallowed Assembly Hall. That stink has created a culture of absolutely folding down the stretch of the season. Archie could not get this team up to compete in February and a lot of these guys are his hangovers in the program, so you have a bunch of Archie’s recruits on the team who are used to this backslide and almost conditioned to expect it. So I do not blame Mike Woodson for this one.

BOO!!!!!

But 5 games?!!!! 5 GAMES!!!! What an absolute burner of a losing streak. This game seemed primed to be the one to get back on track for the Indiana Hoosiers, alas, it was not. After a hard fought 4 quarters, the Hoosiers absolutely folded in overtime leading to the Ohio State victory 80-69. What a huge game from Ohio State freshman Malaki Branham. Malaki dropped 27 points while also tallying 5 rebounds and 3 assists. That’s a stellar collegiate performance if I’ve ever seen one.

Indiana was down a few guys and absolutely could have used them. Rob Phinisee, Khristian Lander, and Trey Galloway were all out due to various differing injuries. Meaning Xavier Johnson would have to carry the team through this one. Unfortunately, he committed 5 turnovers in that first half. This is all a recipe for a long beat down heading your way. This wasn’t the case though.

With all these factors building into a potentially DEVASTATING recipe on the court, the Hoosiers fought hard. The game was far more respectable than I had initially thought it was going to be. It’s been bad though, and very rapidly leading to the inevitable disappointing end to this season. I want to hold out hope, I truly do. I just don’t see this team as is shaking this funk. Which stinks, I loved this team heading into the season. Indiana fans owe the world to Trayce Jackson-Davis for coming back to play this year. New coach, definitely wouldn’t had been blamed for leaving. He is at least providing us with someone to watch and key on to make our heartbreaking losses just a hair less damaging.

What does this heartbreaking overtime loss mean for Indiana? Unfortunately, I believe the nails have been placed and the coffin lowered into the ground. We are all but waiting for the dirt to be poured over our graves. That dirt will come in the form of any Big Ten Tournament loss, because now I think this may be our only shot at punching Indiana’s ticket to the Big Dance.

-Burke

Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes PREVIEW BLOG

Game tips off at 7:00 ET today. Indiana has the all-time advantage on Ohio State 109-87. Their previous matchup this season resulted in a 67-51 Indiana victory fueled by a MONSTER performance from Trayce Jackson-Davs (27 points, 12 rebounds). Indiana’s relentless defense was able to force 15 total turnovers from the Buckeyes.

Ohio State will be hosting their 4th home game in a row. While that is usually a cause for relaxation and a bit of an ease in the schedule, Ohio State will have hosted these 4 games over the course of 8 days. Quite a busy schedule. Whereas Indiana University has had 6 days to prep and rest for the Buckeyes Monday night. Ohio State will be looking to win a game following them being taken to the woodshed in that last game, losing by 16 and being held under 60. Indiana Hoosiers will be coming off a slide of epic proportions looking to salvage anything they can before we just call the season a wrap. Big stakes here.

I’m really hoping that the Buckeyes 30% shooting from the floor (Absolutely pathetic at home) spills over into this one. Both teams really have one player that the offense revolves around. You all know Indiana’s guy!!!

TJD!!!

In order to shut down the Ohio State offense, E.J. Liddell will need to be slowed down. I say slowed down because I don’t believe he can be stopped outright. Currently averaging 19.7 ppg Liddell has been the catalyst for Ohio State’s offense.

Indiana must play through Trayce. The Hoosiers just aren’t scoring from beyond the arc this season, and unless a significant amount of change has taken place in 6 days, I don’t see us scoring much on a defense that is solid on the perimeter. The Hoosiers can not, CAN NOT, miss layups today. Indiana has left points on the table at every possible chance this year it seems. This must be eliminated from our program.

This game looks to be a low scoring bout. I’m always hopelessly optimistic, but after that lost last week I don’t know if I really expect Indiana to win. Ohio State will be a tough matchup across the board. When a game is poised to be so low scoring, we must make free throws and layups. Doing that will easily limit the Hoosiers from beating themselves and fixing the trajectory they are currently on.

PREDICTION:

While the game is currently projected to end in a 72-66 Ohio State victory (kenpom.com), I believe that the Hoosiers will pull this one out. I can’t see Ohio State having enough time to prepare for this one as the Hoosiers did. Their limited turn around time will have them really only having addressed TJD and focus on him. If Indiana’s supporting players want their time to shine and have a memorable performance this is it. I’m looking for TJD to administrate the offense and have a big assist total in a 64-57 Indiana Hoosier victory.

Down 5 players, Indiana loses to Northwestern, recap

FINAL: INDIANA 51, NORTHWESTERN 59

WOOF! That was brutal… What a terrible, terrible loss for Indiana. The Indiana Hoosiers need to get it together right away. This loss is an undeniable blemish on the tournament resume for the Indiana Hoosiers. Northwestern is not a loss that can be easily discredited for Northwestern’s stifling home court advantage. I mean just look at that fan support at their football games. Indiana’s shooting was absolutely terrible, the front court was no where to be seen, and Miller Kopp couldn’t buy a bucket to save his life!

In regards to that front court, Trayce Jackson-Davis got his double double. It is sad when you learn that it was on 4 of 14 shooting. TJD played 39 minutes for the Hoosiers, absolutely monster load for Indiana’s star player. The front court really had to manage the load with most of them active, it just so happened they failed to do so.

In a game where the Indiana Hoosiers were already DOWN WITH SELF IMPOSED SUSPENSIONS, we decided to add onto our own stresses with foul trouble. How bad was it? Galloway got his 4th foul, and we had to play him. Because he was 1 of 2 scholarship guards available to go. So ridiculous.

Photo Credit: Sylvan Lane

Now discussing those suspensions a bit…

Listening to Don Fischer before the game, we had heard Indiana would be shorthanded. Then I saw this.

We didn’t know to which extent! 5 Guys! 5 Guys! We got self righteous and suspended 5 guys. The details involving the 5 players suspensions needs to come to light because if this was an attempt to self police and handle something internally, silently, this had the adverse effect because why couldn’t it be said what rules were broken! the public demands answers! If its the weed and Woodson suspended them their are two HUGE dipshits in this story. Mike Woodson for caring about 18 and 19 year old kids tokin’ up a bit and Michael Durr. Michael Durr, being a 5th year transfer needs to know better. Losers all around and I just want to know what happened!?! Give us the details!

The tournament committee could look at this game and rationally think, they self imposed a suspension on 5 players so were 1 away from not having half their scholarship players. So hopefully that is a plus… hopefully.

Onto Michigan State.

-Burke

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