Well ... that was fun!
Yes, it’s just Minnesota. Yes, they were down to eight scholarship players tonight. Yes, Indiana is still not in the NCAA Tournament picture.
But it’s hard to not feel excited.
- What a difference a point guard makes: After spending a lot of the season with an offense that looked like a work in progress at its absolute best and complete calamity at its worst, Devonte Green’s resurgence has given the Hoosier offense a dimension it had sorely missed. Green finished the night with 19 points and 7 assists, dishing out a number of slick passes and canning both tough AND open jumpers, something the team has struggled to do all year. If he can take this run of great form and turn it into a foundation for next season, Indiana will be in great shape.
- As I posited back in January, Indiana is probably going to be just good enough to miss the Big Dance because they couldn’t avoid non-conference disasters: If they just win their games against Indiana State and Fort Wayne, the Hoosiers would be sitting at 16-10 (7-7) with a good shot to finish with 9-10 B1G wins. That doesn’t make them a shoe-in by any means, as they’d still only have one notable win (against pre-Bonzie injury Notre Dame on a neutral court)— but they’d be in the conversation. Especially if Archie finds a way to break the Indiana B1G Tournament curse and find his way to the weekend out in the Big Apple. But those losses can’t really be overcome at this point, and unless the Hoosiers capture the auto-bid (lmao), it’s NIT SZN again.
- Holy God get this conference all the hell away from Fox Sports 1: Donny Marshall was an unmitigated disaster tonight. He spent an ASTONISHING amount of time complaining about Indiana’s candy stripe warm-ups. Listen, the pants aren’t for everyone, I’m not going to fight someone for not liking them unless I’ve consumed a lot of brown liquor, but move on. Unfortunately, on the off-chance he wasn’t complaining about clothing, Marshall spent equal time not understanding bracketology and talking about Minnesota’s lack of size, as if Indiana’s just embarrassed with riches in that department. He also made several points about Indiana wanting to play fast (they’re 254th in tempo, nationally). This was an egregious case but it has been obvious to everyone who is watching that FS1’s stable of announcers are either deliberately or negligently unprepared for the teams they’re calling. It’s awful.
Hoosiers are off until Wednesday, when they get their rematch with Illinois in Bloomington.