Indiana Hoosiers: Team Trying to Turn Luck Around at Illinois

By Eric Smith
Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

One team has to be happy that the Illinois Fighting Illini changed the name of their arena. For more than just the obvious, the Indiana Hoosiers have to be thrilled that a new chapter was opened for Illinois basketball when they changed the name of their basketball venue from Assembly Hall to the State Farm Center this year.

Most would think Indiana was happy that happened as they now no longer have to share a name of their basketball venue with Illinois. But, it was recently announced Indiana was changing its name to the Simon Skjodt Arena in honor of the family that donated $40 million to renovate the Assembly Hall on the Bloomington, Indiana campus.

That’s not the reason IU has to be happy. Indiana has to be happy because maybe it can have more success in the arena with the new name.

Yes, it’s the same old Assembly Hall other than a new name on the outside of the Champaign, Illinois arena. But, Indiana didn’t fare well under the old name.

The Hoosiers lost last year 74-72 on a last second uncontested layup by Tyler Griffey. Indiana was No. 1 at the time and had a stranglehold of the game until late in the second half. The Hoosiers were looking for their first win in Champaign since 2008, but instead suffered their fourth straight defeat.

Indiana did get revenge on Illinois in Chicago just over a month later in the Big 10 Tournament, but nevertheless for some reason they just struggle on the Illinois campus.

IU has won only five times at Illinois since 1989 and are 0-4 since its double overtime 83-79 win on Feb. 7 of 2008. That win was their first victory since 1999 there, as the Hoosiers are 2-10 since the 1998-99 season.

That’s why Indiana is trying to turn its luck around Tuesday afternoon. It needs to win this game in order to not fall to the bubble watch of the NCAA Tournament. Indiana needs a win bad at Illinois as both teams are practically the same. They both are searching for a quality win and want to get off to a good start in conference play.

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