Now that my blood pressure has come back down to a much safer level after the debacle that we witnessed on Tuesday night in Madison, Wisconsin, and we’ve since gotten a win at Minnesota, I feel as though I can write with a much clearer head and be somewhat more objective.
I personally never like losing anything, and I don’t like the teams I support to lose either. But I also understand that losing happens sometimes (unless your the ‘76 Hoosiers) and as a fan, you have to learn to accept it, just like you do the winning.
Now, with that having been said, losing when you aren’t giving effort shouldn’t be something that fans should be expected to accept. Players adjusting to new coaches and new systems can be reasons for struggles. Not busting your hump, and appearing to not really care while doing so is a whole new set of problems.
Sometimes shots aren’t going to fall. Sometimes the calls are going to be very one-sided. And yes, sometimes the other team is just flat out better than you are. But you stand very little chance in a game that you aren’t doing the things that take nothing more than you playing hard while you’re on the floor.
The difference between Tuesday night and Saturday afternoon are perfect examples. Wisconsin, especially Ethan Happ, were allowed to get by with a little more than the Hoosiers were. But the Badgers, and their roster full of walk-ons and subs, just simply played harder and wanted it more than the Hoosiers roster of 4-Star talent. It really is that plain and simple.
Minnesota matched the talent we put on the floor, considering that both teams had two key players unable to play. Yet when a call didn’t go Indiana’s way, they didn’t hang their heads. When another shot from under the basket rolled off they didn’t slump their shoulders. When they made lazy passes, or when they had mental lapses and looked lost, they didn’t pout.
They picked each other up and they fought. They fought their butts off. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s not going to be pretty sometimes. Especially when the roster is what it is. To win games the Hoosiers have to want it more. Period.
The success Indiana has on offense is more times than not a direct result of the effort they put in on defense, and towards rebounding. It all starts on the defensive end of the floor for the Hoosiers. Look back at the games they’ve won, or had a shot to win, and their defense was the key. The games they’ve got taken behind the woodshed in, they looked as though they couldn’t care less on that end of the floor.
I’ve seen some blame being placed on Coach Miller, and I disagree with it. If this was his roster, then all fingers should be pointed directly at him. But with not much focus being put on the defensive side of the ball in the recent past, some of these kids just don’t get it.
I feel confident in saying that there are three, maybe four, kids on the Indiana roster that Coach Miller would have recruited. Think about that a minute. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. He is instilling his system and is having to do it with a group of young men that have played in, or came to play in, an entirely different system.
There will more than likely be more roster turnover at the end of the year than some might think. Some kids just aren’t meant for some styles and therefore don’t ever get “it.”
But no matter what, come Tuesday, I’ll have my Candy Stripes on and I’ll be cheering this team on, or cursing at them, just as loud as I always am. Why? Because I’m a Hoosier fan. We care, so therefore that’s what we do!