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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Indiana University Basketball is a hot mess!

Indiana University Basketball is a hot mess!

IU fans need to stop acting like spoiled brats!
Publish Date: 03/10/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

About 15 years ago, a hot younger coach named Tom Crean came to IU. During his press conference he was asked why he chose to come to Indiana University, considering all the problems the basketball program was facing. His now famous comment was “its Indiana, its Indiana. Fast forward to 2024 and one might respond, so? That same hot younger coach ( who won two outright Big 10 championships and a few sweet 16 appearances during his tenure) 9 years later was run out of Dodge on a rail. He was cursed and called names at public events with his family present. His sin against Hoosier Nation? His efforts  just weren’t good enough! Right Mr Glass?

While every fan base has rabid fans (rabid can be taken two ways too) this Indiana fan base is without a doubt one of the worst,  most vicious groups you will find in college sports, when the program isn’t performing to the level of their expectations. This fan base young and old, still hearken to the Bob Knight days. The problem is there is no reincarnation of Coach Knight, he is a once in a lifetime, if not once in a century level coach. Yet some 37 years after the last National Championship, the fan base still demands the level of excellence that was attained by Coach Knight. I am old enough to remember one of the greatest teams of all time, Knight’s 1976 undefeated National Championship team. Coach Knight told the fans, enjoy what you are watching now, as you may never see it again. He was right and we may never see a team like that again. The great sports writer, Bob Hammel once said, “the fans didn’t believe him”. To an extent they still don’t.

Now 24 years after Bob Knight coached his last team at IU, the fans still expect that level of excellence and wont tolerate anything less. They expect that when a players comes to Indiana they are coming to put on that jersey with the Indiana name on the front. They don’t realize or more likely don’t care that the game has changed so much since Knight coached. The NIL and transfer portal have had such an impact on college sports. Young players don’t come to Indiana because its Indiana, they come for their own opportunities, not to please the desires of the fans. To young athletes today, those glory days are nothing but ancient history, that you can watch clips of on You Tube. These same young kids are also hooked on social media, just like their non athletic friends. That is where the fan base really just doesn’t get it.

Look at Indiana today. After 2 successful seasons where they made the tournament, this years team has struggled. Key injuries have plagued the team. This years team is devoid of over 70% of its offensive production from last year and the team overall is the youngest team in the Big 10. They weren’t projected to be much higher than middle of the pack in the Big 10 and in spite of it all the problems, may still end up there. The fan base is livid! Calling for the head of Mike Woodson, a coach that is the product of the very same coach they idealize. One of their own, an Indiana kid that loves IU and professes many of the same beliefs that his mentor stood for, going to class, learning to play tough defense first. The vitriol is unparalleled on all the social media outlets. Yes, other schools have a certain level of insane comments on social media, but nothing to the level with Indiana. I have seen posts on X, where recruits are tagged by rabid fans claiming that Woodson cant coach, cant develop players, cant win and should be fired immediately! The national media picks up on this angst and uses it to fuel their stories on Woodson. As I stated in a previous article they are eating their own now!

Than we have the recent events with Liam McNeeley, who just De-committed from IU. No one knows the reasons he choose not to come, but that hasn’t stopped the wild speculation by the rabid fan base. They don’t claim rumors as rumors, they claim them as facts! They profess its a fact Liam didn’t come because no one at Indiana contacted him since he signed his letter of intent. Its a fact he didn’t come cause he didn’t want to play under Woodson. Totally over the top reaction. Now today I went to Liam’s Instagram page and there were literally hundreds upon hundreds of vial comments from Indiana fans for his decision. Way to keep it classy fans! The sad part of this is these same fans complain why Indiana cant get certain kids, gee I wonder! Even Trayce Jackson-Davis, a very classy and astute young man stated the fans at Indiana are tough to please, you think?

I don’t put 100% of Indiana’s problems on the fans. The university has had its share of bone head moves since Knight’s firing. This fan base though, generates a lot of negativity around the program. Their actions and behaviors create issues with the big money donors, that don’t want this negativity swirling around the program. The simple truth is its all based on unrealistic expectations. Until this fan base wakes up that their expectations are unrealistic this program will wallow in under-performing seasons, missing out on key recruits and the carousel of coaching changes. They are a big part of the problem.


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