In the Midwest of rural America lies a small town known as Bloomington, Indiana. If you don’t know where it is, its about 1 hour and 20 minutes North of West Baden, Indiana, the birthplace of Larry Bird. Good, glad we have that cleared up… With a population of 80,000 (40,000 are students at Indiana University) nothing interesting happens in this town – besides college basketball. Today is an unseasonably warm 62 degrees (I dont know why i checked, since I live in Chicago) and sunny but that’s not why this town is buzzing with happiness. You see, something remarkable happened last night under the roof of Assembly Hall when the No. 19 ranked Indiana Hoosiers Men’s basketball team took on the No. 5 ranked Michigan State Spartans. Suprisingly, the Hoosiers managed to take down the third top five ranked team in the nation this
season! Who does that? And what kind if Lin-gatorade have they been drinking?
Last nights 70-55 victory over the Spartans was the teams third HUGE notch in their belt – but you’d be surprised to find out that the students didn’t rush the court after this game. Granted it wasn’t as close as the -2.5 spread predicted but after the game it seemed as if it was just another days work (in assembly line work terms) for the Hoosiers. It was almost as if they were still hungry for the real team and that was just their calamari appetizer. Apparently, when you’ve already knocked off the No. 1 Kentucky and No 2. Ohio earlier in the season you literally go into a the game against a top 5 team knowing you’re going to dominate instead of thinking it might be somewhat of a challenge.
Here’s a recap of their upsets vs Kentucky and Ohio:
So, what does this all mean for these boys from Bloomington? Well, it means you single handedly turned around a program that has been spiraling ever since H.O.F. coach Bobby Knight (the second most winningest coach of all time) left the program in 2000. Sure, there were moments of glory since then, but none that amount to this. I wonder what the guys in the barber shop or the butcher are talking about. Are they saying, “This team is good enough to go all the way to the big dance!?” Regardless of what the Hoosiers do in the tournament, this is a glorious accomplishment for the program and they will go down as one of the greatest teams in Indiana basketball history.
I dont want to take anything away from these wins, especially the Kentucky win, but to be honest, I dont know how MSU and Ohio are in the top 5. In my opinion, the only teams that will be competing for the title are Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, UNC, Syracuse, and Duke. Okay, and last but not least, the Hoosiers.
Let me tell you why these guys may have a shot to make it to the dance. (I apologize if I left out any sleepers on the team)
Tom Crean – Head Coach
Tom’s from Michigan (a breeding ground for champions). He’s also good friends with former NFL coach Steve Mariucci. Champions hang out with champions.
Christian Watford -F- A big body in the paint that can match up with the big boys from the larger programs. He may not be as big as Sullinger (Ohio) and Green (MSU) but when you are carrying that much extra poundage, you’re likely to be winded come round 2 in the tournament. This guy also has range, as noted by his buzzer beater against the Wildcats.
Victor Oladipo -F- I’ve never seen a guy drive to the hoop faster. His first step will blow by most defenders. We’re talkin, John Wall fast…
Will Sheehey -F- The beach bunnies from his hometown in Florida are counting on this guy to perform, and when they ask, they shall receive. He’s got the focus and confidence to knock down the big shots when you least expect him to, and that’s why he is a threat.
Jordan Hulls -G- Fastest release of shooters this side of the Mason-Dixon. Monster clutch shooter too. Not too quick though, could easily be shut down as a scoring threat.
Cody Zeller -F- Freshman of the year? The next Tyler Hansborough? (Yes, because he is big and white and gets fouls called against him) Here’s one Mr. Basketball that hung around Indiana, instead of going to the Tarheels. This man is a machine and is the core of the squad, without him, I don’t know where they would be today. He can bump with the best of them and is quick in the paint. All he needs to do is get the big guys from other teams in foul trouble by taking it hard to the basket.
Congrats to ’04 Alumnus Jim Dailey and the rest of his compadres on a remarkable season thus far. Cant wait for March Madness.