The first season of the Mike Woodson era was once a beautiful swan, and now it is one ugly duckling. It all happened so fast. One second every Hoosier fan was sprinting out of their homes, screaming at the top of their lungs because they had finally beaten the Purdue Boilermakers, and now they may not even make the tournament. Is that an overreaction? I do not think so. At the start of the season, Indiana looked like a solid team, being picked by many sports outlets as a potential sleeper team in this year's tourney. Now, the Hoosiers can't buy a bucket. One of the guys Head Coach Mike Woodson brought in to shoot the three-ball Miller Kopp has gone 3-14 from three in this five-game losing skid and does not look comfortable shooting the basketball. Xavier Johnson has his moments of wonders one possession and then leaves fans shocked by certain plays that do not make sense. Parker Stewart has regained his shooting touch but let Malaki Branham takeover late in the game and ended up scoring 27 points only driving right. The free-throw line is still an absolute disaster. They literally can not shoot the ball. I let out audible groans of disappointment when I see a 3-point shot taken.
Listen, I understand rebuilding a program will never be sunshine and rainbows. But this was supposed to be a team that makes the NCAA tournament. They have a lower offensive efficiency rating than they did last year under Archie Miller, who I am guessing has one massive Grinch grin on his face and is swimming in his buyout money. For real, has anyone heard from the guy? The one thing that scares me about this team going forward is losing a preseason All-American, and I have no clue how they will replace him. Now, Mike Woodson has some recruits coming in. We also said that during the Crean era, the furthest that team got was the Sweet 16 when they did not prepare enough for Syracuse's 2-3 Zone (the only defense they run). It will be intriguing to see how Indiana responds down the stretch and in these next few years because I believe Mike Woodson can turn this program around, and then once he has had enough, hand the keys to the shiny new car to Dane Fife. They have the talent to turn it around by year's end and even more next year. Jalen Hood-Schfino is coming in, Tamar Bates stepped up in huge spots, and I still think there is some untapped potential in the young guys on the bench. March just got a whole lot interesting for the fellas in the candy-striped pants and the fans supporting them. We shall see if they answer the call and become the swan they once were.