Indiana and Butler Basketball teams need to look in the mirror and answer a very important question

No one looks forward to adversity, but everyone is thankful for it after it is overcome.

Indiana and Butler have basketball programs experiencing some serious adversity right now.  Butler is in last place in the Big East after losing to Marquette.  Indiana lost its seventh straight last night at Rutgers.

That’s the magic of college.  It’s where what has come easily gets hard.  Academics, Athletics, social interaction – it’s all a little more complicated, and requires an understanding that the only correct answer for those challenges is diligence.

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Learning through adversity is uncomfortable, but the lessons last a lifetime.

Indiana and Butler players need to each look in the mirror and decide what he is willing to do.  There is a phenomenal scene written by David Mamet in “The Untouchables” that illustrates the challenge that lies ahead for each Hoosier and Bulldogs over the next six weeks.

“What are you willing to do?” is THE question for Indiana and Butler.  Are they willing to work, rest, sacrifice, subvert personal desires, get physical, take risks, and focus on making teammates better?

Are the coaches willing to be temporarily loathed to lead their athletes to a deeper understanding of what competing as though the result is deeply important actually feels like?

This morning on both campuses, there are basketball players making the decision to avoid or embrace the difficult road.  If they volunteer for the tough road, there is no guarantee of success, which is what makes sitting on your ass playing Fortnite so alluring.

The tests of fortitude and will keep coming one after another – both play Saturday (Butler against Seton Hall; IU travels to Michigan State).

Great comebacks all start with a group of people in a room who believe in themselves and one another.  The athletes at Indiana and Butler are miserable this morning – or they should be.  The way out is to embrace the difficulty of the moment, and then to hold each other accountable to the work and sacrifice necessary to achieve their goal.

We don’t know this morning what these two teams are willing to do, but we will learn that throughout the next six weeks.

And so will they.

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

2 thoughts on “Indiana and Butler Basketball teams need to look in the mirror and answer a very important question

  1. philboyd

    “What are you willing to do?”

    That is the question.

    There is a related discussion on the Kentucky basketball board: What Killed Indiana Basketball?

    And the best answer comes back to “what are you willing to do?”

    Imagine in 2001 – when he was ready to come back to college basketball and was not at all tainted goods – a dynamic, visionary and ruthless AD at Indiana had been willing to hire Rick Pitino. The pitch: forget being little brother in Kentucky at UL, cement your legacy by being the coach that resurrected TWO Blue Bloods.

    Now, I’m guessing for a guy like Kent this will be a heretical suggestion: What? Play that ‘Kentucky’ style Pitino had perfected (while the Cats won 2 championships and reached Four Final Fours and at least the Elite Eight seven out of eight years with his players.) Get away from Indiana traditions?

    But the success Pitino had at Louisville – before self-immolating trying to match Calipari – would have been nothing to what he could have done at Indiana. His 2011 recruiting class might have been Zeller and Teague and Dawson and Plumlee and Anthony Davis – just by holding Indiana and the Hoosiers’ traditional influence in Chicago.

    And what did you get instead? Weird mediocrity under Davis. NCAA Sanctioned under Sampson. Extreme goofiness and under achieving under Clappy Crean. And Archie “Call Me Jughead” Miller – another in a long, long line of mid-major coaches overwhelmed in the Big Time.

    What are you willing to do? Indiana hasn’t been willing to do enough since jettisoning that abusive psychopath Bobby Knight. So, you are where you are.


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