Saturday’s win over No. 13 West Virginia was, let’s say, pretty darn good. Rather than heading into the holiday with another close game against a good team that they could have won, the Hoosiers are suddenly one of the hottest 7-5 teams in the land. There’s no doubt whatsoever that Indiana will be “Jacked” up for the Big Ten opener at Northwestern on the 31st. Last season, it was ‘Oh, they’re 11-2 but who have they played so far?’ before conference games began. Well, now they’ve played more than a handful of quality opponents that were either Top 25 or receiving votes in the polls at the time, managed to beat two of them, and now face games inside a somewhat less intimidating Big Ten.
The Big Three from last season are now the Big Two, with Purdue off to a 4-6 start, and next week may be the Big One as No. 23 Michigan State lost at Hartford on Saturday. Ohio State, the conference champs three years running, is left at No. 18, and the prospect of upsetting one of these teams is not such a wild premonition anymore.
West Virginia coach Mike Carey had this to say about Hoosier point guard Jamie Braun, who finished the game with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, marking the fifth straight game that IU has had a player post a double-double. “I thought No. 23 controlled the game, did an excellent job, and we never got in the flow, to their credit.”
Nikki Smith seems to be feeling less pressure now that she’s settled into a resreve role. She nailed four 3-pointers and scored 15 points, giving her 43 points in the last three games after netting a total of seven in the four previous games.
Coach Jack had a great quote about why she grabbed the microphone after the game and said that the Hoosiers aspire to be as awesome as the Mountaineers and want to be where they’re at in terms of national recognition.
“Our vision isn’t those empty seats out there. We see 10,000 fans, as crazy as it sounds. We got angry, really disappointed that our guys played and all those Hoosier fans left right before our game came out. They missed a heck of a showing, and our prayer is that they realize they missed an opportunity. One thing about basketball is that you can have a second chance, and so our goal is to get those guys to stay in their seats next time.”