One of the strange characteristics of the last few years has been the inability to watch an IU game with any confidence. If this game had happened when I was a student (and I was at IU from 1992-93 through 1996, a solid but not glorious time for the program), I would have been comfortable from the time IU extended its lead to 12-6 five minutes into the game. Instead, with an 11 point lead and five minutes to go, I found myself pacing, pounding my fists, tapping my feet, and so on. At that point, I tried to tell myself that I needed to calm down: while IU's previous two teams had blown home games with bigger leads than that, this one hadn't. Well, my instincts proved more prescient than my logic. The Hoosiers led wire to wire, and by as many as 16 midway through the second half, but the Gophers, with a furious comeback, kept the game in doubt until the final buzzer, when a Blake Hoffarber three point attempt that was on line (the Minnesota bench thought it was good, and so did I) bounced harmlessly off the front of the rim. Less than two weeks ago, after the debacle at Iowa, I and other IU fans wondered if the Hoosiers would win another game. Since then, IU is 2-1, all against ranked opponents, and with the one loss coming at Michigan State in overtime. Certainly, these games against ranked opponents aren't equivalent to games against Ohio State or Purdue. I'm fairly certain that Minnesota and Michigan State (stomped by Iowa last night) have made their final appearances in the top 25. Still, despite mounting injury problems, IU has played hard and effectively. All three games came down to the wire, and neither 3-0 nor 0-3 would be a stretch, but we made it through at 2-1. Not bad at all.
- Derek Elston was effective, with 8 points and 6 rebounds;
- Matt Roth scored 9 on 3-10 from behind the arc;
Jordan Hulls is in a bit of a shooting slump (3-9 from the field, 0-5 from three), but his more aggressive play is paying off. He had 6 assists and 1 turnover.
- Daniel Moore made almost no impact in the stat line (1 foul in 11 minutes), but his mistake free play was and will be crucial for the Hoosiers. With all of the injuries, we will need his minutes. He's not a playmaker, but doing no harm while Hulls or Jones takes a breather has some value.