I did want to post this one, though, before IU's upcoming game in a few minutes against a reeling Michigan State team at East Lansing that I'll be watching on The BigTenNetwork, DirecTV Channel 610.
IU 52, U of I 49 - First win against ranked team while Tom Crean's been head basketball coach at IU.
Video highlights at:
It's not by mistake that I've chosen not to write much about this disappointing college basketball season, the third in the Tom Crean regime in Bloomington. (Or even said anything about Kevin Wilson being hired as the new football coach, a move I welcomed.)
There's a lot of misgivings and discomfort among some Hoosier fans I know and communicate with on a regular basis, not only over players that have failed to develop as expected (or in some cases, even regressed) but about wasted opportunities on nationally-televised games, cementing the idea among key high school players -and some fair-weather fans- that IU can't show more toughness and grit in close games, and emerge victorious.
While this victory over the Fighting Illini was certainly nice, especially at a packed Assembly Hall where devout fans have been eyewitness to more losing than at any time since I've been a Hoosier -and more since these students have been alive- I still find that a lot of very frustrated IU fans living far from the Midwest, are having a hard time accepting "moral victories."
You can count me among them, and you can see that in the agitated and exasperated emails from Hoosier faithful that are sent to the Hoosiers homepage of the Indy Star
That's especially the case with knowledgeable fans whose base of understanding for Hoosier basketball, both history and personality context, extends decades, many of whom frequently respond to Indy Star reporter Terry Hutchens' Hoosiers Insider blog at
Hoosiers Insider remains a great resource for Hoosier fans living far from the rolling hills of Bloomington, and remains one of the few places that I can consistently go and find out something, from either Terry or a reader, that I didn't already know or had considered about the team and its history.
People with an institutional memory about the team that recall things that happened before I got to Bloomington in the fall of 1979 the way I STILL remember things about the 1972 Dolphins Perfect Season -whether scores of the games, the team roster, mini-controversies, et al- which was my first year as a Dolphins season ticket holder.
When IU plays Kentucky in mid-December, that's almost always been a nationally-televised Saturday afternoon game that got lots of eyeballs coast-to-coast. Now, it's almost forgotten and on ESPN2 or wherever it was, and not even brought up until late into ESPN's SportsCenter or into their radio programming -an after-thought.
The annual Michigan at IU ballgame which had so many memorable and clutch finishes from 1980-2000 while a CBS nationally-televised staple, has also become a victim of the recent mediocrity.
When I watched it recently on TheBigTenNetwork, it was hard not to think of all those games with Coach Knight getting the better of whomever was patrolling the sidelines for the Wolverines, and the confidence IU fans had with Damon Bailey or Steve Alford bringing the ball up-court with less than thirty seconds to play against those excellent Wolverine teams.
You knew that the fundamentals would be there and that guys would come thru in the clutch, and if they lost, it would NOT be for lack of a proper understanding of what they needed to do and where they needed to be on the court for that last shot.
Now, I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen from play to play, and whether a player will repeat the same mistake twice before getting pulled from the game.
Rebuilding is definitely a bitch.
The IU homepage at The BigTenNetwork website, full of IU-related stories & videos: http://www.bigtennetwork.com/