I’m tired of protecting myself emotionally against the possibility that we won’t be as good this year as every person on the planet thinks we’re going to be. This instinct to end up like a dog that’s been beat to much and spend half my life just coverin’ up, has been earned over the last 20 years. But I’m going to fight it.
At first it was the late-Knight run of one and done in the NCAA tournament. Then it was the era of cautious optimism that led to and briefly followed the 2002 NCAA Runner-up run. Followed by the Davis-Crater that so many of us thought was the worst it could ever get. Follow by the reign of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and the massive rebuild Tom Crean had to do once the grade and drug levees broke in the aftermath of Hurricane Kelvin.
We’ve all had a lot of reasons to be suspicious of predictions of IU basketball success.
But, I’m done with all that. To quote Tony Kornheiser, it’s take-your-pants-off-Saturday! The Coaches Poll has us at #1 with 21 of 31 possible votes. The AP has us #1 with 43 of the possible 65 votes. That’s amazingly consistent. In both polls 2/3 of all possible voters looked at college basketball landscape and said, “Indiana is the best team in the country.”
And who am I to argue with that?
I know I’m not leading the charge in getting all worked up to the point of shedding my pants about this team and this season. Tons of people have been crazy-go-nuts about us already this year. But I’ve been trying to hold back my excitement for fear that I’ll be disappointed.
Well, screw that.
If we sit and wait until we’ve swept through the Big Ten and charged undefeated into the NCAA Championship game before giving into the fun and excitement of being the #1 team in the country, then we’re going to miss out.
And I, for one, am not going to spend the entire night in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. I’m going out for Tricks or Treats. And even if I have a little trouble with the scissors or get a few rocks along the way, I’m not going to miss the fun, waiting for something that may never come.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect a Big Ten Championship, National Championship, an undefeated season, and all the recruiting successes that will come from that.
But, today, October 27th, none of those things have happened yet. But nothing else has happened yet either. We’re still undefeated. We’re number 1. And while it’s true that no one hangs banners for preseason rankings, that doesn’t change the fact that we, the fans, should be taking this opportunity to run around like lunatics, pantsless. We should stand in line for hours to watch bad dancing and half-court shots. We should be thinking very seriously about how we’re going to take all the time off we’re going to need in March to go watch this team win the national title.
Because if you wait until March, you’ll have missed it.
And I’m not going to miss any of this.