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

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!

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.

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