At the start of this week, I was looking forward to some good basketball, with BIG games on the horizon. The Golden Gophers were without leading scorer Dawson Garcia and backup forward Pharrel Payne when the Hoosiers came calling at “The Barn.” Regardless, the Hoosiers still couldn’t “hit the proverbial side,” shooting 41.1% from the field 4-14 from behind the arc, and 11-18 from the line. The home team was even worse at 34.4%, 5-25, and 8-14, but I.U. had twice as many turnovers, half of those in the first eight minutes of the game. It may have been one of the ugliest games I’ve ever witnessed.

The ”Rule of 60” was working against us at traditionally unfriendly Williams Arena as Minnesota took a 57-54 lead with 3:20 go in the game after Jamison Battle hit a contested 3-pointer and Taurus Samuels sank two free throws. The savior was once again Trayce Jackson-Davis with 25 points, and 21 rebounds, including a game winning tip-in off a free-throw miss my Race Thompson with 43-seconds remaining. It prevented Minnesota from reaching 60 first with the score tied at 57-57. You also have to credit the IU defense as Indiana would dominate the final 3:20 of the game, allowing no points while scoring seven of their own. The final score was 61-57 after a pair of Trey Galloway free throws with 8-seconds to go, getting the Hoosiers over that magical hump. Ta’Lon Cooper missed a 3-pointer on the next Minnesota possession and Miller Kopp grabbed a loose ball and called timeout with just over 20 seconds to go. 

Regardless of the circumstances, a big, BIG road win was the result, in a setting that has never been kind to the Hoosiers. It was their fourth straight conference win, tying them with Illinois and Michigan State at 5-4. They are a half-game behind Michigan and Northwestern, one game behind Rutgers, and three behind Purdue. Mike Woodson did not travel with the team since he was recovering from Covid, so Associate head coach, Yasir Rosemond took the reins. Next up, Ohio State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

With an 86-70 win over the Buckeyes, it meant five straight conference wins for the HOT Hoosiers for the first time since the 2015-2016 season. Two nights earlier, the IU Women’s team conquered the #2 ranked Ohio State ladies on the same floor. Both Hoosier teams used huge runs to breakaway to comfortable victories.  

Freshman sensation Jalen Hood-Schifino had 17 of Indiana’s first 21 points, and finished the first half with 20, including 6- treys for a 46-30 Hoosier edge. In the end, JHS scored a game-high 24 points. Trayce Jackson-Davis continued his recent dominance with another double-double. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the victory while Malik Reneau, showing signs of shedding his freshman slump, added 15-points and 8 boards. Turnovers still seem to plague this team with nine compared to 8 for the visitors, but the Hoosiers shot 50% from field and 50% from three.

I.U. now sits at 15-6 and 6-4 in conference play, after a 1-4 start. The “magical moment” was a TJD dunk at 13:30, making it 60-43. Hopefully, this momentum will continue when they play at Maryland on Tuesday night, before hosting Purdue on Saturday. The Boilers have already won 21-games after revenging their only loss to Michigan State and claiming 4-straight since. The BIG Showdown is coming next weekend.