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Hoosier Mystery

BOZICH | Monday Muse: What happened to Indiana? Mitchell vs. Giannis?

  • 8 min to read
Monday Muse

Indiana has lost 10 of its last 11 Big Ten games, which is not the way this season was supposed to unfold for Archie Miller's team.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in college basketball will not be in the area this week. We'll have to inhale and celebrate visits by Virginia (Louisville) and Auburn (Kentucky) on Saturday.

Unless you're following Indiana.

Then you'll have inhale and ask if there will be an occasion to exhale with another victory this season.

You can guess where I'm headed with this Monday Muse.

1. Whatever Happened to Indiana?

On Jan. 3, Indiana defeated Illinois, 73-65, to improve to 12-2 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers were ranked No. 21 in the AP college basketball poll, ahead of Wisconsin, Iowa, Iowa State, Purdue, Louisville and a cast of thousands.

If De'Ron Davis had made an easy tip-in at Arkansas, the Hoosiers would have been 13-1 and in the top 15. The NCAA Tournament? Lock City.

On the eve of the Hoosiers’ rematch with Purdue at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall Tuesday evening, Indiana is no longer racing toward a 4- or 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Hoosiers are racing toward irrelevance.

Saturday in Minneapolis, the most alarming development around Archie Miller's team was not the 21-point loss to a Minnesota team that had lost four-straight.

It was this news from the Twin Cities Chapter of the IU Alumni Association:

"Due to low registration, this Saturday's Hoosier Pre-Game Brunch has been CANCELLED."

The final word of the announcement was underlined by the alumni chapter, not me.

Some numbers on the Hoosiers:

They have lost 10 of their last 11 Big Ten games.

If you throw out the first three seasons of the Tom Crean Era, when the roster was gutted by NCAA probation and defections, my research shows it's the first time IU has lost 10 of 11 Big Ten games since 1944.

They are also solidly on track to miss the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season.

If you again scratch the first three Crean seasons, this will be the first time the program has missed the party three straight seasons since a 5-season gap from 1968-72, back when the tournament field was less than half its current 68-team size.

After the miserable Minnesota game, Miller promised "drastic" changes. In the middle of February, he's not only trying to fix an inefficient offense as well as an inconsistent defense, Miller is coaching effort.

It's not an inspired look.

2. When Kareem Speaks …

Former Kentucky star Anthony Davis is not the first player who decided the time has come to change his NBA address to a neighborhood where he can legitimately pursue a championship, like Davis did for John Calipari at Kentucky.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knows something about that.

Five seasons in Milwaukee (including one title) were enough for Kareem. Before the start of his sixth season, he informed the Bucks that he strongly preferred to be moved to a bigger city.

Abdul-Jabbar did not tell the media.

The Bucks complied, shipping him to the Lakers in a deal that also got former University of Louisville star Junior Bridgeman to Milwaukee.

For more than six seasons Davis has had a spotless record in New Orleans. No smudges on his image. One of the NBA's good guys.

But his attempt to force his way to the Lakers and LeBron James has not been as well played as Abdul-Jabbar's strategy. He might want to sit down with Kareem.

3. Donovan Vs. The Greek Freak

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered the Walkaway Moment at the NBA All-Star game Sunday night in Charlotte. He needed FAA clearance to soar several miles above the rim to catch and slam a bounce pass from Steph Curry.

Then the Greek Freak dropped the mic by hinting he might participate in the Slam Dunk contest next season.

If Giannis is in, somebody else is, too.

I'm thinking Donovan Mitchell won't be the only guy ready to challenge Giannis.

4. Don't Try This At Home

Speaking of the Slam Dunk contest, former Kentucky star Hamidou Diallo was unable to watch his former team take down Tennessee Saturday night. Diallo had work to do.

The New York Times did the best job of capturing Diallo's acrobatic performance while winning the Slam Dunk prize.

I'm certain you'll agree.

5. Another Reason To Admire Steph Curry

I don't know Curry. Never met him.

But Curry rarely does things that make you shake your head and wonder what he's thinking -- unless you're thinking about those pull-up 30-footers he makes just because he wants to make them.

Curry added another item for his legacy during all-star weekend. He's on the top line of NBA players who endorse Under Armor products. With the All-Star game in Charlotte, where Curry grew up and played college ball at Davidson, Under Armor wanted to throw a party.

Curry had a better idea: Take the party money (at least seven figures) and invest it in a local recreation center.

Consider it the finest shot Curry has made all season.

6. Purdue's Pipeline To Western Kentucky

One of these days the pipeline of former Western Kentucky football players departing for Jeff Brohm's program at Purdue will end.

But not yet.

For the third consecutive season, the Hilltoppers have lost one of their top performers to their former coach.

Hard to argue with this one: Linebacker Ben Holt pledged his allegiance to the Boilermakers -- and as a graduate transfer Holt will be eligible to play this fall.

Brohm had a special connection with Holt. Ben's father, Nick, followed Brohm from WKU to Purdue and serves as the Boilermakers' co-defensive coordinator.

7. Geography, For $1,000

Imagine calling Darrell Griffith and Derek Smith former University of Kentucky basketball stars.

Imagine crediting Steve Alford and Isiah Thomas with having remarkable careers at Purdue.

That's what a headline writer at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper did over the weekend when former Mississippi State stars Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro were identified as former Ole Miss greats.

Hoddy Toddy.

8. Joey Votto Goes Deep

Reds' fans might grumble about Joey Votto's power numbers or his salary but it's difficult to question his sense of humor.

With spring training camps open, baseball players have grumbled about the slow-pace of free-agent signings. Some have whispered about a work stoppage, to ensure management understands that labor is not pleased with the current salary environment.

Votto was asked what he would do if major-league players walked out.

Votto hit one off the wall.

9. Never Change Steve Spurrier

I can't tell you the name of the team Steve Spurrier coaches in the new professional football league that I ignore.

But I can't ignore Steve Spurrier, because nobody trolls like The Head Ball Coach. He does not need Twitter. He only needs a microphone.

For a guy who grew up in Johnson City, Tenn., Spurrier has a thing about the Vols unlike anybody I've ever heard.

10. Rick Pitino Tweet of the Week

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