“On the first day of Christmas Mike Woodson gave to me, a Hoosiers win in the marquee”
It’s the Holiday season. Kinda.
It’s after all of the big ones save for New Years, but we really didn’t expect you to log into crimson quarry dot com on Christmas Day when the alternative is opening presents, having some nog and watching as the Lakers waste the last few good years of LeBron James.
So here we are after the holidays, and we have a few wishes we wish to come true in the new year. So join us, the staff of the Crimson Quarry, as we share our hopes for Indiana Athletics in 2023.
Men’s basketball figures it out
For the past two games, Indiana has had to operate without its floor general in Xavier Johnson and its leading scorer/preseason All-American in Trayce Jackson-Davis. The result? Meh.
The Elon game was very obviously geared toward getting younger members of the roster some minutes they may not be as likely to see in Big Ten play as Mike Woodson tests out some lineups. The Kennesaw State game was... not that.
The Owls caught fire from beyond the arc, finding open looks and making the Hoosiers pay multiple times throughout the game. It took a late scoring surge from Tamar Bates and Jalen Hood-Schifino to make a weird game look better than it was.
That being said, now is not the time to truly worry. Jackson-Davis will have some time to rest and Jalen Hood-Schifino needed games like this to figure out how to be The Guy for Indiana at point guard. December is not the time that you want to be playing your best ball, it’s perfectly fine for teams to use the early months to figure themselves out.
We wish for that to happen.
Injuries happen - it’s one of the unfortunate realities for any sport and no team will ever be completely immune from the injury bug. That said, this year has felt particularly brutal for Indiana fans.
Indiana had three preseason All-American basketball players between Mackenzie Holmes, Grace Berger, and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Holmes has been the only of the three to remain completely healthy so far, and it’s not yet clear when Berger will return, though the program has hinted she’ll be back this season.
Part of the reason expectations were so sky high for this men’s team was the fact that Indiana would have two elite college point guards in its backcourt between Xavier Johnson and Jalen Hood-Schifino, but the two only played a handful of games together before the latter’s back problems and the former’s foot surgery all but guaranteed that we won’t see them together again.
The injuries aren’t limited to basketball of course, but the issues with the football team are a little easier to diagnose. Issues with scheme, recruiting, and position coaches over the last few seasons have made it clear that Indiana cannot protect quarterbacks reliably, it hasn’t for years.
I wish for the athletic department to address the issues with the football team, and for the injury bug, or whatever metaphor you choose, to stay far, far away from Bloomington for the rest of the year.
John Mellencamp Pavilion is washed.
The fieldhouse was seen as state-of-the-art when it first opened in 1996, but has since been passed by every other Big Ten school’s indoor practice facility. The last major renovation was carried out in 2007 when IU replaced the turf, and JMP has been decaying ever since.
As a (club) athlete, I can confidently tell you that practicing in Mellencamp stinks. The turf is old and lacks grip, the lighting is poor, and the drab walls are just a little too brutalist for my liking. The sightlines situation is especially hard on athletes like baseball catchers and field hockey goalies. Trying to pick up a white ball on a white background is really freaking hard and can totally throw you through a loop.
I would not be surprised if athletes protest against practicing in Mellencamp but they don’t have a choice... it’s the only indoor turf facility on campus.
I can understand the university not wanting to pour more money into a “football” building after the last two seasons, but something needs to be done. Given Mellencamp’s current state, I think teams like men’s and women’s soccer may be just as well off on the mini field at Twin Lakes Rec Center on rainy afternoons.
Something. Please. Anything.
Bring back The Bison
Look, this is far from the first thinkpiece to make a case for IU to bring back the bison mascot of yore. This isn’t even the first CQ piece. but we’re doubling down.
Look upon him:
Behold the MIGHT.
No reason for our boy here to not be patrolling the sidelines at Memorial Stadium and Assembly Hall, and then to outposts of Hoosier beyond Bloomington. He brings nothing but joy and fierce energy.
Bring him back to us.