Hey man, hot take.
You sure you’re ready for this one? It’s stirred up a lot of talking and posting in the last few weeks, so I just wanted to make sure.
So... the guy who coached in the NBA for years as an assistant and head coach... leader of some of the best Knicks teams of the past two *decades*.... knows how to coach the game of basketball.
Anyway, let’s get serious. Indiana was in the midst of a very real freefall when it lost three straight games in Big Ten play to Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State. People got mad, opposing fans jeered and the uncle you try to avoid every Christmas was putting up Wilt Chamberlain numbers on the P*egs Premium Hoop Forum.
Shots weren’t falling, energy levels were low and the once-stout defense seemed disinterested in defending the perimeter. A debacle on Instagram that eventually made its way to a very large, very divorced platform in sports media certainly didn’t help.
But, keep in mind, it is January and the Hoosiers were missing approximately 40% of the team’s starting lineup. Their replacements had to learn how to fill that gap on offense and defense while simultaneously coming into their own.
Basketball is not a plug and play game. There’s chemistry involved for teams to get into a rhythm and expecting that to happen overnight was unreasonable. Jalen Hood-Schifino, a true freshman, had to go from the No. 2 guy to the team’s primary ball handler on offense.
These things take time so the coaching of basketball can happen. Indiana also had games to play during that time. That’s how this works.
You have to credit Trayce Jackson-Davis, who Big Ten coaches seem perfectly fine allowing to dunk all over their big men, for slamming the accelerator on the adjustments. He held a players-only meeting ahead of the Wisconsin game and Indiana ended up beating them for the first time in years.
That momentum has carried forward into wins over a very loud, very online Illinois team and the personification of Tom Izzo to get Indiana back to .500 in Big Ten play. Pretty good!
But yes. Mike Woodson, former NBA head coach, knows how basketball works. There’s a reason why Trey Galloway hit a 3-3 clip today. There’s a reason why Trayce Jackson-Davis is in the midst of one of the best statistical stretches of his career.
Going 3-0 in the Big Ten in a week against coaches with league titles to their names without two starters deserves its props.
Also, it is fine to have fun and enjoy this. You don’t need to “well ackshuallly” a winning basketball team if you’re a fan of that team or not.
This is fun. Enjoy it.