By: Aaricka Washington
If you guessed the Wildcats, you’re wrong my friend.
Our 21st NCAA ranked IU Hoosier Men’s Basketball team holds the No.1 position for the preseason poll.
Last night, the IU Hoosiers showed up and showed out in the Assembly Hall for the annual Hoosier Hysteria.
Every year, IU Basketball fans come out to welcome their Hoosier basketball players as they give their introductions, entertain the crowd, and compete in fun basketball competitions.
This year marked the very first time Assembly Hall was filled to capacity at nearly 18,000 fans. The event was sold out less than two hours of the doors opening.
Think about it: This year is special when you consider the big wins including defeating three of the top ranked schools and being spoiled to a Sweet Sixteen spot.
Oh…and then there was that epic buzzer beater on December 10, 2012…The shot that gave Christian Watford not only some major credits by sealing up the win against the #1 team, but also an ESPY.
No, it wasn’t a dream, folks.
So it should not surprise you that every fan stood up and cheered for their team when they came out on the court that night at 7 p.m.
It should not surprise you that when our “adopted anthem” played on the Jumbotron, fans proudly swayed their hands left to the “banners on the wall”.
It should not surprise you that Sage Steele, the ESPN SportsCenter co-anchor and IU alum (class of ’93) proved to be the perfect emcee of the night. Dressed in IU’s old school candy stripes she reminisced on the power players of her college years and how her passion for the IU Hoosiers still thrives today.
“It’s really an emotional thing for me because what if I hadn’t chosen this school? There’s no way I would be here today.” Steele expressed to the audience. She claimed that there is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t talk about her Hoosiers.
And let’s not forget about our Women’s basketball team this year. After the Women’s Basketball team showed off their different personalities during their introduction, Steele interviewed their new head coach, Curt Miller.
Miller was Bowling Green State University’s head coach for 11 seasons, having an outstanding coaching record of 258-92. He also boasts six Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year honors and five NCAA Tournament bids. Miller encouraged IU fans to support the women’s basketball team as he rebuilds the team from the ground up.
Next, the lights dimmed as Victor Oladipo crooned and led his teammates to Mario’s hit 2002 song “Just a Friend”.
After the men players gave their introductions, Steele spoke to Tom Crean, the men’s basketball coach about his coaching record and how did they get to where they are now.
“The fans, the community, unbelievable student body, and this entire operation helped us to get through it and there’s no doubt about it,” Crean said, “That’s why its awesome to be here tonight with them”.
Steele also asked Crean about how he keeps everything in perspective despite having a target on their back as the number 1 team to beat.
“When you come to Indiana, there’s a target on your back from the very beginning and there’s no way around it. They didn’t want it to happen, there were people around that didn’t want to see it come back, it is coming back. It is back!
The hype continued with a long shot competition and a slam dunk contest featuring newcomers Peter Jurkin and Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.
Sophmore Cody Zeller, who is also known as “The Big Handsome” won the long shot competition.
Junior Oladipo, who might as well have taken the place as the co-emcee of the night with his commentary with Steele and his teammates, won the slam dunking contest.
The both Women and Men players played a scrimmage that night.
In the end, Hoosier Hysteria proved to be a success as fans were left to feel a sense of hope for the upcoming seasons.
One unforgettable thing that Steele stated was her belief of the fans’ hope and pride of a traditionally great basketball team.
“I have to say all of you Hoosier faithfuls, you knew the Indiana program was coming back, but that was before the rest of the country figured it out: that Indiana Basketball is back.” Steele said.