Do you live and breathe college basketball recruiting?
If given a choice between a date with Megan Fox and a chance to watch, say, Cody Zeller, play in this weekend’s adidas May Classic in Bloomington, do you break out the scorebook because you’re going to keep track of every shot?
Well, before you get into recruiting hyper drive over the 213 AAU teams set to compete this weekend, consider that most of the big games (which means games involving Zeller’s Indiana Elite U-17 squad) will be played at Assembly Hall or Indiana’s new Cook Hall.
Does this give Hoosiers coach Tom Crean a recruiting edge? Heck, yes. Anytime you can get players on your campus, even if it’s in a non-recruiting setting, it helps.
And for all the talk about how much the Hoosiers have struggled the last two years -- and when you win just 16 games in that span, struggling is a kind description – you’d never know it based on attendance.
Yes, IU didn’t average a sellout this past season, but it did average 15,296 in 17,000-plus Assembly Hall, which ranked 11th in the nation. That was an improvement of five spots over the previous season.
For the record, the Hoosiers are the only Big Ten program to rank in the top 16 in attendance in each of the last 39 seasons.
Yes, Crean was appreciative.
“It’s easy to see that the fan base at Indiana, without question, is the most loyal in the country,” he said in a university release. “Their energy and support is playing a big part in our efforts to restore the championship tradition here at IU.”
That support included six sellout crowds.
A big reason goes to athletic director Fred Glass, who never saw an idea he wouldn’t consider implementing. That included selling Assembly Hall balcony seats for $5. It wasn’t a universally popular decision among IU officials, but it worked. And if you’ve ever sat in one of those seats, you’d understand the importance of bargain pricing.
Anyway, IU ranked second in attendance in the Big Ten behind No. 6 Wisconsin (17,230) and ahead of No. 12 Illinois (14,870) and No. 13 Michigan State (14,759). Kentucky led the nation with a 24,111 average.
All those other teams, by the way, had winning records. At 10-21, IU wasn’t even close to a winning record. Imagine what the Hoosiers will do when they return to their winning ways.
And they will, by the way. Perhaps as soon as next season.