The Quietest Night in Assembly Hall
By: Robby Howard
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Maybe it was because I was seated in the 14th row of the balcony.
Maybe it was because it was a Wednesday night.
Maybe it was because the Hoosiers were expected to win by at least 20 points.
Maybe it was because no one outside of the opponent’s bench could name a single player on the opposing team.
Whatever it was, Wednesday night’s matchup with North Carolina Central was one of the quietest, calmest crowds I have ever experienced at Assembly Hall.
The Assembly Hall crowd has a long reputation as being one of the craziest, loudest, most raucous in the country.
Let’s just say N.C. Central didn’t exactly get the same treatment as Kentucky.
But then again no one, outside of maybe Michigan State, who visits Assembly Hall Feb. 28, will probably get the same treatment that the Wildcats did.
The difference is N.C. Central didn’t even get the same treatment as Stony Brook.
Maybe it was because the player’s started uninspired.
Despite the fact that Sheeladipo got its first start ever, the team didn’t really seem like it came out with the same energy that it has had in the past at home.
Eventually Oladipo and Christian Watford stepped up and started playing inspired, hustle defense. But for the most part, no one seemed too enthused to be playing. No one seemed like they were really unleashing their full potential.
Some might say that these guys didn’t need to play their hearts out. It’s just North Carolina Central. The Hoosiers can give a 75 percent effort at home and still come up with a W against them.
No. That is not acceptable.
In the heart of the Big Ten season, this is a team that the Hoosiers should have absolutely crushed. The Hoosiers can’t afford to take their foot off the gas pedal at all as February wraps up and March draws near.
The Hoosiers need to play their best basketball from start to finish, no matter who they are suiting up against, whether it is Michigan State, Iowa, or N.C. Central.
Kory Barnett, Danny Moore, Jeff Howard and Taylor Wayer should have been able to play at least a solid three minutes in mop-up duty in this one. If the Hoosiers played with the same competitive fire that they had against Ohio State and Kentucky that would have happened. But it didn’t.
And all of that sluggishness worked its way through the crowd. Fans barely stood for any of the game, and Assembly looked close to the emptiest that it had all year.
Besides the monster Derek Elston dunk and Oladipo swat, fans barely made their enthusiasm known.
It was completely unexpected. As stated previously, N.C. Central isn’t Kentucky.
Nonetheless, it was still weird.
Assembly Hall quiet? Assembly Hall calm?
Maybe it was just me.
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