Indiana is not playing good, tough, collective basketball, and fan frustration is about to explode all over Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Seven weeks are left in this season, and it appears to be heading to a destination all Indiana fans have are way too familiar with – disappointment.
The majority of the last 25 seasons have seen the same crazy annual cycle – wild optimism, occasional solid play fueling greater optimism, mediocre play, crushing depression. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Here’s an idea. Let’s control what we can (expectations), let players do their job (improve), and allow Archie Miller to coach without concern for our feeble emotional bleatings and calls for him to be replaced.
Indiana is not what it was during the 1970, 1980s, and the first half of the 1990s – a basketball program capable of winning an NCAA Tournament every five years, contend in two of the other four, and win a Big 10 title every other year. Expecting a return to that level of routine excellence is insane.
Be patient, understand that building a culture can take time, and allow Miller to restock the shelves with Indiana talent. Take a deep breath. Know that 90% of what you say or write on social media is at best harmless, and at worse a poor reflection on a fanbase that needs to be a positive force as recruits and their families evaluate IU.
We tend to think of ourselves as a great fanbase – passionate defenders of the realm; a group that only wants the best. Has it ever occurred to any of us that we might be one of the reasons for the program to be stuck in the middle of a quarter century of failing to meet expectations?
It should, and we should embrace our potential roles in fixing it.
Calling for Archie’s head is ridiculous, premature, and does nothing to help him succeed in the way we would like. Being hyper critical of players who work a hell of a lot harder than we realize does nothing to motivate them to continue to pony up. Assailing an athletic administration that is trying to represent and please a broad and demanding spectrum of factions is challenging under the best of circumstances.
I’m not saying that blindly praising them is the road to a championship, but understand that Tom Crean left this thing completely boogered. Rebuilding Rome (or Bloomington) can’t be done in a day.
If you need to express outrage, do it like we used to – throw a $30 recliner off the Walnut Knolls balcony – or just scream for five seconds and order another beer. Then relax and laugh with friends.
In Hoosiers – the cinematic bible of basketball in Indiana – Rollin cleared the Hickory gym for Norman Dale to allow the coach to do his job. We need to metaphorically do the same thing. I don’t know if Archie is the absolute right guy for this job, but I can damn sure tell you that if we make it more difficult for him, we will be partially responsible for his failure.
Let’s get out of the way – clear the gym. Let Archie do his job – tear ’em down, and build ’em back up.
Let’s give Archie the best chance at success rather than make it tougher for him and the Hoosiers.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.