Indiana vs. New Mexico State: They’re Back
PORTLAND, Ore. — Its been exactly one thousand four hundred and fifty five days since Indiana has been in the NCAA Tournament.
And thankfully for the Hoosier faithful, not a day longer.
Ever since that fateful Friday, when the Hoosiers fell to Arkansas in the first round, 86-72, the goal for the program has been to get back to playing meaningful basketball games in March.
And this year, for the first time in Tom Crean’s tenure as Indiana coach, that has exactly happened.
The team has defied expectations, defeated the odds, conquered nearly all of their foes, and through it all, brought Indiana basketball back from the depths.
Today, the Hoosiers face a team in New Mexico State that boasts a veteran squad, who won the WAC Championship game over Louisiana Tech 82-57, bringing down 45 rebounds, including 13 on the offensive glass.
Crean in his press conference yesterday spoke about the need to keep New Mexico State off the boards. The Lobos usually win games when they can get second chance points from offensive rebounds.
Indiana shouldn’t be worried though. They have a +3.4 rebounding margin over the course of the season. And against big physical teams like Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Kentucky, the Hoosiers have won the rebounding battle.
Indiana, as a four seed, should be heavily favored to beat the thirteen seeded Aggies of New Mexico State. But they aren’t. The “experts” are calling for an upset, and even if Indiana wins, they say Indiana wont make it past either VCU or Wichita St.
This suits IU just fine. The love being the underdog. They relish it. If anyone has the mustard to call a team that has beaten three top-five teams already this season, then they better catch up to the times.
And think about it. Indiana should be favored. They are tops in the Big Ten in scoring offense, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, and are second in free throw percentage.
Four of the five Hoosier starters are averaging double figures scoring. Nearly all the way down the bench, a player is expected to be able to score a bucket at any given time.
What we know for sure about this game is that it will be exciting, up-tempo, with plenty of turnovers on both sides. The winning team will be the one who wins the battle on the glass, and gets to the free throw line early and often.
The Indiana Hoosiers have had a magical ride so far, making their way back into the NCAA Tournament. Lets hope the honeymoon continues long into the weekend.
You can listen to Indiana vs. New Mexico State on 99.1FM starting with a pre-game show at 9:15pm ET and the tipoff at 9:45pm
Last 5 posts by Dan Karell
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