Yea, I go there.
Yea, I'm probably biased.
But no, there is no discussion. It's Indiana.
In my opinion, the Hoosiers fans are the best in the Big Ten and one of the best fanbases in the nation. But what makes these nutcases the best? The Hoosier faithful have the five essential qualities that every fanbase should have, and they exemplify these traits.
Every fanbase seems to think their fans know the most about the game of basketball, and I am no different. But the crowds that fill Assembly Hall are the most knowledgeable fans in the Big Ten.
Even the old ladies sitting courtside can spot an obvious foul, but there is so much more than that to the game of basketball.
Indiana fans know when timeouts need to be called to slow momentum, when a 1-3-1 trap needs to be used and even which subs need to be made to get some better perimeter defense on the court. How many teams can honestly say that the majority of their season ticket holders know the difference between a 2-3 defense and a 1-3-1 trap? And not only that, but how to force the defense into mistakes by using those defenses? None that I know of, outside of Bloomington.
You can walk up to anyone sitting on an IU campus bus and ask them, "Why do you think we won/lost the game last night?". The response will more than likely be an analysis of the defensive and offensive schemes and the results they yielded. Oh, and if it was a loss, expect some expletives.
Ever since the Kelvin Sampson scandal, things have been a little rougher down in Bloomington. So, do those five banners hanging require a Final Four berth every season?
No, according to Indiana fans. Losing records were expected in Tom Crean's first few seasons. Most fanbases would be irate, calling for the heads of the coach and his staff. But Hoosier fans flocked to Crean and rallied around him. He is our guy. He is the future of Indiana basketball. And the future of Indiana basketball looks very bright.
Soon, those expectations of .500 basketball will be replaced with hopes of a sixth National Title banner. But are these expectations reasonable? Absolutely. Indiana is expected to have the No. 1 recruiting class in 2012, and 5-star guard Gary Harris is still on the fence about joining that class. Look out, nation; we're back.
Back to the Kelvin Sampson scandal. Did Hoosier fans jump ship and quit following the team? Absolutely not. The real fans stayed and will soon be rewarded with success from the Hoosier team.
The most glaring sign of team loyalty, to me, is what happens when fans leave the games early at Assembly Hall. On numerous occasions, I have been seated near several pessimistic fans that decide to leave the game with 10 minutes or so left in the game. How does rest of Hoosier Nation respond to these fans? They boo. And they call names. The fans who stay are the real fans, and they want to make sure the early-exiting fans understand what a real fan is.
People may not remember the fans who leave early, but the passion is well respected.
An opposing Big Ten coach (following a blowout loss by IU) praised the majority of the crowd for staying, saying it showed a strong sense of team pride and demonstrating why IU will be back sooner than later.
"Crazy things happen in Bloomington" - Dan Dakich, ESPN
The fans at IU games are tremendous. The line for general admission student seating begins early on in the day, hours before game time. Classes are skipped just to be in that line for better seats.
Being in the student section at Indiana is not just a privilege; it's an honor. Being in that crowd means normal societal rules don't apply to you anymore. You wanna name-call? Go right ahead. Some people might call it "disrespectful" or "rude." But don't tell the students that, or you will be called an "a******" by about 18,000 screaming fans.
Tim Hardaway Jr. wants to taunt the fans after a big three-pointer? Chants of "Daddy's better" echo throughout The Hall.
Bruce Weber wants to argue with the refs about a call? He is greeted by loving chants of "F*** you, Bruce."
All in all, there is nowhere I'd rather be than in the stands at Assembly Hall on a gameday.
The sign in the photo pretty much says it all.
We have great soccer, tennis, baseball, swimming, diving, and softball teams. But let's be honest, at Indiana, it's all about basketball.
The students grew up shooting hoops in their driveways, watching Hoosier basketball on television, and listening to their family discuss the state of Hoosier basketball. We, as students, grew up watching some of the best Hoosiers in history: Tom Coverdale, Dane Fife, AJ Moye, Jared Jeffries, AJ Guyton, Kirk Haston, and so many more. We have been force-fed IU basketball, and none of us would go back and change that.
Football season is coming up in a few months, and you know what that means: Hoosier basketball is close behind it. Discussions at football games are not about whether to run or pass, they are about whether Jordan Hulls will start shooting more.
Basketball season in Bloomington rivals that of football season in Gainesville or Tallahassee. It isn't the biggest thing, it's the only thing.
Beat up on the Hoosiers while you can folks, your time to do so is running out. Because as I said before, WE'RE BACK.