Saturday, March 6, 2010
What Does IU Win Mean -- Hope
Okay, so maybe it’s not time to play Bawa Muniru. Maybe we confused Bawa with, say, Bobby Capobianco or, perhaps, Derek Elston. Hey, it happens.
Elston, by the way, is the big guy with the tattoos.
Anyway, IU found an inside game and, lo and behold, found a way to win. It beat Northwestern 88-80 and if it unnecessarily needed overtime to do it, why quibble over a victory that’s been so long in coming.
Capobianco played a huge role with his eight points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Then there was Elston, who is becoming a man right before our eyes. He had a career-high 17 points and eight rebounds to follow up the 13 points and seven rebounds he had against Purdue. Add the fourth double-double by Christian Watford (14 points, 11 rebounds) and suddenly you have a formidable inside game.
Outside balance came from Jordan Hulls who went 8-for-12 from three-point range and showed why IU coaches were so high on him when he committed to the program. He just missed the school record of nine three-point baskets held by Rod Wilmont and Matt Roth.
“Jordan made some big shots,” coach Tom Crean said, “and I think that’s going to be part of his persona at Indiana.”
Verdell Jones chipped in 18 points despite going 0-for-5 from three-point range.
So what does it all mean? First, IU’s 11-game losing streak is over, which means they're smiling again in the locker room. Second, the 10-20 Hoosiers are the 10th seed and will play Thursday at around 5 p.m. They’ll either play Northwestern or Michigan, depending on what happens with today’s game between Michigan State and Michigan. Third, beating Northwestern at home isn't the same as winning at Purdue, but it's a start.
That leads to the most important point. This victory means hope that maybe, just maybe, the Hoosiers are growing up and better times are coming, perhaps even in the Big Ten tourney.
Isn't hope a wonderful thing?
As for Bawa, well, does IU REALLY need a 6-10 athlete sitting the bench? Can he ever develop to the point he gets even one minute a game that matters? That, it seems, is one of the great Hoosier mysteries.