It’s been three years. Three years without seeing the Indiana Hoosiers on the big stage. The team that was once a sure fire lock to make the NCAA Tournament has now become nothing but a distant on-looker. This is a team that has five banners hanging in the newly renovated (and quite nice) Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Yet, that’s all Hoosiers fans have to hang their caps on. It’s been 32 YEARS since glory was brought to Bloomington. That was five years before my parents had met each other and seven years before they even considered having a child(me).
I have nothing but a handful of NCAA Tournament Appearances to hang my own hat on. What I remember most are pre-NCAA Tournament moments, both good and bad.
I remember Eric Gordon. The main reason I’m such a big Hoosiers fan.
I remember Kelvin Sampson. Should I go on?
I remember Blake Hoffarber’s miracle heave from the left elbow in March of 2008 in the Big Ten Tournament to eliminate IU.
I remember the destruction of the team thanks to Sampson. That of which Tom Crean inherited and endured three seasons of 12 wins or less.
I remember ‘The Shot’. Just in case you need to feel good today, click here and try not to get chills.
I remember Victor Oladipo.
I remember ‘The Syracuse Game’. What a letdown.
I remember two straight years of losing to Purdue Fort Wayne. No offense ‘Dons fans, but you know.
The next to last one was a tournament game, but one EVERY Hoosiers fan wishes they could forget about. A complete brain lapse by the Crew Chief that day.
So, we now are entering our third year of the Archie Miller era. Fans were expected to give Archie a pass in his first year due to the roster that he inherited. Fine. Last season, with Archie’s first recruiting class under his wing, they flopped. The second season looked very promising, especially when landing top ranked player in the entire state of Indiana Romeo Langford and you add a good solid point guard in Rob Phinisee. But, you lose twelve of thirteen games to start off Big Ten play and the offense looks non-existent a majority of the time, forcing big man Juwan Morgan to run isolation at the top of the key, and totally forget that Romeo Langford even exists at times.
Grant it, Langford did suffer a thumb injury early on that limited him and eventually sat out the Big Ten Tournament because of a back injury, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this team looked terrible last year.
Assembly Hall, ‘The Mecca’ of College Basketball. No one wanted to face the Hoosiers and their faithful there on any given night. Now? Just another basketball court that has some history behind it.
So, how should us Hoosier fans feel coming into this season? Well, let’s start here. There’s eight new players in jersey. The Hoosier have 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball Trayce Jackson-Davis. How will the 6’9, 245 freshman play come conference time? The bulk isn’t there yet for the young fella to bump around the rest of the Big Ten, but will he even play much inside or live from the mid-range and outside?
Armaan Franklin, another freshman will look at minutes behind Phinisee and senior Devonte Green, who will miss tonight’s game with a hamstring issue. What about the Butler transfer Joey Brunk? He’ll provide a big body up front at 6’11, 245. Could he eventually replace De’Ron Davis in the lineup who has struggled at times on both ends with consistency. Will Al Durham and Justin Smith take the next step? They both show promise, but will it translate. Lastly, Jerome Hunter. We’ve all heard good things about him and had no idea what held him out of last year until this summer when Miller said it was a bad leg injury. He’s healthy now. Does he get big minutes early?
As a lifelong Hoosier fan, I walk into this season for the first time since those dreadful rebuild years with Tom Crean with little hope of getting back to the good days of Indiana Basketball, but, maybe Arch and the Hoosiers are poised to prove a lot of people wrong this year and I truly hope one of those people is me.
Season Prediction: 21-10