Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time for Big Ten play

I'm a little nervous this morning as I wait for the noon tip off between Indiana and Michigan.

At times this season, the baby Hoosiers have appeared ready to take that next step in the rebuilding process. The team got its biggest win in the last two years on the game's biggest regular-season stage this month -- over Pittsburgh -- only later to play an absolute clunker first half against Loyola of Maryland and more resemble last season's team. The Hoosiers came back from 20 points down to take the lead late in that game, but could not finish.

Now they face another hurdle: the loss of Maurice Creek, the team's leading scorer through 12 games. Which team will emerge? I'm hoping the high effort this team is known produces positive results, because once again it's going to take a near perfect performance for this team to win. They are unlikely to recover from long scoring droughts or poor shooting halves against Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue.

The Hoosiers are 6-6, equaling the win total from last year. Ideally, the record would have been 8-4. I don't think anyone expected the team to lose all three games in Puerto Rico and Loyola showed in the second half they were not as unbeatable as they appeared. Still, Crean seems to be making progress. I think moving beyond 10 or 12 wins certainly should be a goal. The Hoosiers should get three or more of those wins in Bloomington. Could this team approach .500 by the end of the season?

Enjoy the game. It's on ESPN2.

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