Coaches always say to take the season one play at a time and one game at a time. For top ranked Indiana Hoosiers, tonight, that will be tough to do. The Hoosiers play lowly Ball State at home tonight, just two days before they take on no. 9 North Carolina Tarheels.
Ball State is not very good. They are a bad MAC team, who finished 6-10 in conference last season. They did upset the Butler Bulldogs last season, so it is not like they can’t beat anyone, though, they did lose their last game to Indiana State. A 50% effort from Indiana should be plenty tonight, to have a convincing win.
I am sure coach Tom Crean will treat tonight’s game with as much preparation as any other game. But, for the players, it will not be so easy. It is impossible to not look ahead to the North Carolina game. The entire college basketball world has shifted their focus to the Big Ten/ ACC Challenge. The Indiana game is the headliner.
It features the matchup of top big men, in Cody Zeller and James Michael MacAdoo. Both players project to be top five picks this spring in the NBA Draft. It will be fascinating to see them play on such a big stage. Zeller must be looking forward to it. The idea of worrying about Ball State’s front court likely does not bother the All-American, Zeller.
Another distraction for the Hoosiers is the fact that freshmen Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera Perea remain suspended. The school challenged the NCAA‘s suspension of the players, due to receiving impermissible benefits. The appeal was to no avail, as the freshman duo will be forced to watch from the bench for the next week. They have been suspended all season.
With all of this swirling around the team, tonight’s game shouldn’t be a problem for the loaded Hoosiers team, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ball State has a good start tonight, before the Hoosiers crush them. Tuesday is a big night for Indiana, not Sunday.