Confidence keys Hoosiers’ March run
By: Robby Howard
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University wasn’t supposed to make the Sweet 16 this year.
If anything, IU would be lucky to get a bid to the Big Dance, but the NIT seemed to be the popular pick among national analysts.
Either way, a deep run in March was nowhere on the radar coming into the season.
Except on Tom Crean’s.
And Cody Zeller’s.
And Jordy Hulls’.
You get the idea.
It wasn’t really visible to the public until the often-overlooked N.C. State game—and even then—some may not have noticed it, but this team believes in itself.
Against N.C. State, the Hoosiers trailed by seven with seven minutes to go in a hostile road environment. Keep in mind, this was the team that hadn’t won a significant road game during the Tom Crean era.
And it fought back, against everyone, and punched the Wolfpack right in the face (punctuated by Victor Oladipo’s dunk).
And thus the identity of this Hoosier team was born: It fights, claws, and scratches back, even when it looks like it’s down and out.
That all stems from confidence.
It showed again against Kentucky. Christian Watford rising high from the left wing and draining that three? That typifies this team’s confidence.
Ohio State saw it, too. Just when everyone was starting to think Aaron Craft was an All-World point guard, he got trapped in the glove of Oladipo in the first half, and that propelled the Hoosiers to another W.
Remy Abell has shown it, too. Remember that three he buried at Mackey Arena from the left baseline to finish off Purdue? Swag.
There is a confidence in this team that Hoosiers teams since 2002 have all lacked. The 2008 team featuring Eric Gordon and D.J. White didn’t even have it. The 2005 team sparked by Marco Killingsworth’s dunk against Duke didn’t have it either.
That’s the biggest difference between the current team and last year’s team (well, and some freshman named Cody Zeller). That’s the reason they weren’t picked to go anywhere in March before the season started. No one had seen this newfound confidence.
It’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly this confidence comes from. Some of it comes from Crean. Some of it comes from the summer leadership of Hulls. Some of it comes from knowing that they can give the ball to Zeller and count on two points at any given time.
Whatever it is, it’s been on full display the past two games.
No one nationally believed in this team to start the season. No one nationally believed in this team in Big Ten season. No one nationally believed in this team last week, and still no one outside of Bloomington believes in them right now.
But it doesn’t matter. This team believes in itself. And that confidence is all it needs to keep moving forward.
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