Sunday, March 7, 2010
Indiana Basketball: Finally, a Win!
Every year when Northwestern and Indiana play each other, I have to make the difficult decision of which team to root for. Grew up in Evanston, a Bloomington resident and IU student... you all know the story by now.
Anyway, Northwestern had already played its way out of the NCAA conversation and is firmly in NIT-land. And Indiana, riding that eleven-game, demoralizing losing skid, desperately needed a win to make this season less painful for the team and the fans. On Senior Night at Assembly Hall, the Wildcats and Hoosiers battled it out for forty-five minutes before the youth and depth of Indiana came out on top.
But I'm not here to do a game summary. I'm here to figure out if getting to ten wins in 2010 is enough for Indiana and Tom Crean to be proud of their efforts. Is it enough to propel this program forward into contention in the Big Ten, and soon? Talking to Indiana fans around town, it's becoming clear to me that a lot of people are very fed up. Crean haters have come out of the woodworks, and hard-working players like Devan Dumes and Tom Pritchard have become the subjects of ire because of their struggles this year.
Though attendance at the Hall has remained solid, I think a lot of the patience and optimism of last year is gone. Losing eleven in a row, the last nine by large, snooze-inducing margins, will do that. Does beating Northwestern on senior night to get to four Big Ten wins cure the IU Blues?
I'd be curious to know how my fellow Superstars feel about this. I know that 4 conference wins is quadruple what the Hoosiers had last year. They beat Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern, and Minnesota this year. One of those wins was on the road. A quality win against Pitt was probably the season highlight, but that was before Maurice Creek went down.
Those heartbreakers at Illinois and against Purdue really proved to be the season's turning point, where Indiana's best effort was just barely foiled by the slimmest of margins, leading to a steep decline into slaughter-rule purgatory.
Honestly, I'm just not sure how to feel about this season. With the Big Ten tournament coming up in less than a week, is there any reason to hope for a Cinderella-type run? Help me out here, guys.