Indiana needs to win at Minnesota Sunday. It needs a victory for any number of reasons, the biggest of which are Big Ten tourney opportunity and NCAA Tournament seeding.
The Gophers (17-11) are reeling with four straight losses. Coach Tubby Smith was really ticked after they coughed up a late lead at home and lost to Michigan State.
This likely will mean they’ll play with extra motivation and fire tonight. Remember, this was the same Minnesota team that opened Big Ten play with four losses before winning at Assembly Hall last month.
That 77-74 defeat remains the only Assembly Hall blemish for the No. 23 Hoosiers (21-7).
It doesn’t matter. IU needs to win this game. It CAN win this game, despite its road unpredictability. It needs Christian Watford to regain his offense (three points in three games ain’t making it). It needs Jordan Hulls to return to his leading ways, something that’s slipped in recent weeks. It needs to cut down the turnovers and defend like it hasn’t all season.
Yes, that’s a lot of needing, but the Hoosiers are more than capable of this.
We’ll see if they’re up to doing it.
If you like high school basketball, or following IU recruits, or both, then you’re gonna love this coming week.
Hoosier Hysteria erupts at a gym near you and it starts, but certainly doesn’t end, with Tuesday’s sectional opening collision between state powers Indianapolis North Central and Hamilton Southeastern.
Yes, that matchup does scream for sectional seeding, but that’s a debate for another day.
Also, that game comes at the same time IU hosts Michigan State in a game that could have huge postseason seeding implications for the Hoosiers.
Anyway, some other Tuesday matchups include Indianapolis Park Tudor (Yogi Ferrell and Trevon Bluiett) against Indianapolis Marshall; Broad Ripple (Ron Patterson) against Indianapolis Short Ridge; Indianapolis Tech (Trey Lyles) against Indianapolis Lawrence Central (Jeremy Hollowell); and Indianapolis Cathedral (Collin Hartman) against Lawrence North.
On Friday, Warren Central’s Devin Davis and company face the Tech-Lawrence Central winner.
And if upsets are avoided, Park Tudor will play Broad Ripple on Saturday night for the sectional championship.
By now you have read or seen or heard about Pat Knight’s rant on his Lamar seniors. Let’s just say he wasn’t happy with them. It harkens back to the no-coddle age of IU glory past, when real men coached with an iron fist and real players dealt with it because it made them better.
At least that was the story.
Like it or not, the younger Knight’s tirade ranks as one of the most memorable of the modern age – or any age. He spoke from the heart, and his version of the truth.
You could argue that if players – and kids in general – got more of this kind of tough love earlier in their lives, the behavior that caused Knight’s reaction wouldn’t have happened.
Anyway, that’s a debate for another day. In case you missed it, or just enjoy a memorable speech – think Al Pacino in, “And Justice for All” or “Any Given Sunday” – here are the highlights:
Remember, Lamar is 17-11 after going 13-17 without Knight as its coach. But Lamar has lost 3 of its last 4 games, so things sometimes get a little tense.
*“I’m unhappy with these seniors, that’s what I’m unhappy with, it has nothing to do with X’s and O’s. We’ve got the worst group of seniors that I’ve ever been associated with.”
• “We’ve had problems with these guys off the court, on the court, classroom, I mean, being late for stuff, all that stuff correlates together if you’re going to win games.”
• “I feel sorry for this school. I mean these kids are stealing money by being on scholarship with their approach to things.”
• “The main problem is we don’t have a leader. We have six seniors but not one of them is a leader. We’ve got a bunch of followers.”
• “We’ve got a bunch of tin men out there, they have no heart… We can’t play for them, that’s the sad thing.”
• “Usually you have one or two guys that are a problem. We have an infestation of guys that are hard to coach.”
• “When I played, if you acted like some of these guys did, you got shoved in a locker with a forearm against your neck and told, ‘You don’t do that. That’s not how we do things here at Indiana.’ And that’s what we need.”
• “And I don’t think they get it. If you act this way in the real world, you’re gonna be homeless, without a job.”
You just can't make up stuff like this.