We remember how it felt.
We will never forget that day.
A promising season was completely derailed before it started in the cold lands of Canada last August, when the Indiana Hoosiers were suffered an eight-point defeat at the hands of the Gee Gees in their second game. We all know what happened next: Indiana never recovered, and went on to win three more games than they had the previous year and rejoined the field in the NCAA Tournament with the nation's 9th best offense.
I think I speak for all of us when I say: had Indiana beaten Ottawa, they would have hung that elusive sixth banner, and be champions of the United States, not just Canada.
Now is the time for revenge. The Ottawa Gee Gees are coming.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- Please every god in the known and unknown universes do not let any player get hurt. There is only one way to lose an exhibition game: someone gets hurt. That's it. Ottawa could walk into Assembly Hall and beat the Hoosiers by 40 points and it would not matter if everyone comes out the other side healthy. Blackmon had offseason surgery, Hartman has been dinged up from being too gritty, we don't need any other ongoing injuries to anyone else. If Troy just wants to shoot fade-aways instead of driving at a contesting rim, I have literally no problem with that. If nobody wants to slide in and take a charge, I have no issue with that either. The coaching staff probably disagrees with me, but who are you going to believe? An accomplished coaching staff at one of the sport's blue bloods or me, the random amateur blogger?
- We got an outside chance at 200 points combined here, people. You know Indiana loves to bomb from behind the line, which is something a team with 5 regulars shooting around 40% from behind the arc should do, but did you know that Ottawa loves to pull the trigger from deep early and often as well? Their offense makes Indiana's looked balanced, in the last game alone they attempted 48 3PT shots. Coach Crean and company have preached all offseason about getting better defensively, and it should be noted that Indiana was adequate at defending the 3PT line last season (77th in the country out of 351 teams).
- Can Thomas Bryant make an immediate impact? It hasn't been a secret that Thomas Bryant is seen as the key to everything. Indiana was undone night-in and night-out last season with their lack of depth on the interior. The staff addressed it in the offseason by signing one of the finest available freshman at that spot. We'll get our first glimpse at the kind of impact he could have on both ends of the floor this season. Can he come in and make a Cody Zeller-esque impact from day one?
- What about the other freshmen? While we've talked about Thomas Bryant for most of the offseason, guys like Juwan Morgan, OG Anunoby, and perhaps Harrison Niego could all be looked at to contribute significant minutes this season. Coach Crean discussed on his radio show about having a true two-deep roster, and with Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon, Robert Johnson, Troy Williams, Thomas Bryant, Nick Zeisloft, Collin Hartman, and Max Bielfeldt all likely entrenched as regular contributors, that leaves two more spots left to be seized by the rest of the roster, and Morgan / Anunoby possess the most impressive pedigree of the remaining options.