Yesterday, October 21st, kicked off the official start of basketball season at Indiana University. Yes, practice officially started on September 29th, but from a fans perspective, yesterday was their first opportunity to see not only the team as a group, but also see, and hear from the new coaching staff in Bloomington.
Hoosier Hysteria was already amping up on campus when I arrived in town on Friday morning. And after a little shopping for a shirt or two that I actually didn’t already have, I ventured over to Assembly Hall to check out the new monuments that have been erected outside.
After a great conversation with a gentlemen handing out calendars in Cook Hall, I stepped back outside and spotted new assistant coach, Bruiser Flint. And of course I asked if it was possible to get a picture with him. He graciously honored my request, which was then followed by Coach Ed Shilling, Coach Tom Ostrom, and none other than the man who’s hiring has brought excitement back to B-Town, Head Coach Archie Miller, all posing for a pic with me.
Soon after the pictures were taken, a black SUV pulled up and out stepped prized 5-Star recruit Romeo Langford and his family, who was in town to start his official visit. For me, that was the official start of Hoosier Hysteria and the upcoming basketball season.
As Saturday wore on, the lines outside Assembly Hall grew and snaked through the barricades that had been placed in the parking lots. Those lines were full of both, first timers, and seasoned vets, of Hoosier Hysteria. They swapped stories and watched the Indiana Football Hoosiers take on Michigan State on the giant screens that the university had set up outside to help pass the time.
As the 5:30 door opening time approached, excitement started to build within that “human snake” outside of storied Assembly Hall. And when the line finally started slithering forward towards the door and the first fans were allowed inside, an fairly loud applause wwas heard. It would turn out to be one of the tamest applauses of the night.
The natives were becoming restless once inside as the anticipation for the first glimpse of the Hoosiers drew near. The first round of cheers was let out at the first sighting of the recruits that were filing in. The young recruits that are still a couple of years away from deciding on a school, the signed recruits for next year, and also the two 5-Star recruits, Romeo Langford and Darius Garland, that the fans, and the coaches, are hopeful will finish off next years class.
Hoosier Hysteria is a show and a celebration. It is meant to build excitement for the upcoming season. And in what was the biggest HH crowd since 2012, the excitement was there. There is a little bit of uncertainty, obviously, but the consensus among the people I talked to, there is a renewed spirit in and around the program due to the coaching change.
There is a good mix of both newcomers, and returning players on the roster for Coach Miller’s first team at IU. Last night showed glimpses of what to expect in the sense of how his teams will play. I’ll just say this: I saw more screens set in 10 minutes of game clock action that I saw all of last year, and there was a conscious effort on the defensive end. Did everything run like clockwork? Nope. Because let’s remember, even the returning players are like freshman since they’re learning a new system, but this season should be fun just based on what I saw
The women’s team, and the men’s team at Indiana University, have leaders (Coaches) that not only understand the history at IU, the expectations at IU, and the pride that Indiana Hoosier basketball fans worldwide have. And maybe the most impressive thing about these coaches is, they embrace it!
Neither seems the least bit in awe of the task before them. They appear honored to be called the coach at Indiana University. But they both seem to have an inner drive, a belief in their system, and a no nonsense approach to how things need to be done to return to the top of college basketball world.
Indiana University has won 5 National Titles in men’s college basketball. Last night was the public’s first look at the guy that has been asked to bring us our 6th banner. A lot goes into winning it all, including some luck. There will be some ups and downs along the way, and as always, there is a learning curve. But I will say this, I like our chances of winning banner #6 with Ryan Joseph “Archie” Miller leading the way.
The “hysteria” is back in Hoosier Nation and I for one suspect it will only grow. We’ll see soon enough so stay tuned.