Image courtesy of IU Athletics
Sean Nash and Jimmy Cavanaugh have no problem taking opposite sides on a variety of sports-related topics (don’t believe us? Check out their Friday radio show or one of their podcasts…). This week they debate the Hoosier Hysteria format and whether the event is worth attending.
Sean’s Take: Hoosier Hysteria; a glorified practice for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Fans will line up and fill Assembly Hall to catch their first glimpse in person of this years Hoosier squads. Events like this give me no thrill at all. The players scrimmage each other, obviously not going at 100% speed, and understandably. Nobody wants to see a starter go down with a season-ending injury in an event like this. My big issue, and maybe I am the only one who feels this way, but it almost feels like the target audience for the event is a few years younger than that of the average college student.
Obviously it is a great event to use a recruiting tool, 18,000 fans, screaming at the top of their lungs for nothing more than a half-speed scrimmage, a dunk contest and three-point shootout is great appeal. Big time recruits, both committed and uncommitted will be given the red (or in this case, crimson) carpet treatment. A few players will be making their official visit on Saturday, and who knows, maybe “the movement” will gain a couple new members.
But in my humble opinion, Hoosier Hysteria should be a celebration for the current students of Indiana University. I want the Athletic Department to bring back “midnight madness,” and a favorite mantra of college students is “the party doesn’t start ‘til midnight.” So why not go back to tradition? With the skyrocket in student season ticket sales, so much so that the Athletic Department had to cutoff sales, the student body has clearly shown it is willing to fill Assembly Hall. What better recruiting tool is there than having the biggest student section in the nation? Okay, maybe a number one preseason ranking helps. But if I was a recruit and a school was able to boast having 18,000 students attend a practice, that would definitely bring that program to my attention.
As a bonus, I would love to see the media challenge implemented into Hoosier Hysteria. Who wouldn’t love to see my counterpart James Pierce Cavanaugh IV running in a five-on-five game against fellow media members? His comb-over flowing in the wind, looking fresh in the headband that I know he probably wears while playing basketball.
Anyway, for the second year in a row, I will not be attending Hoosier Hysteria. Call me an untrue Hoosier if you want, but I am not waiting three hours in the cold just to watch Cody Zeller dunk on Taylor Wayer, and half way through regret even being there. I will patiently wait three weeks to see the Hoosiers play when it counts.
Jimmy’s Take: Alright Sean, we need to get a couple of things out of the way. Firstly, you don’t talk about Taylor Wayer like that: he’s the only Bishop Chatard-ian on the roster for a reason (are any ex-Cathedral Irish on IU’s basketball team? I didn’t think so.) and as good as Cody Zeller is, allow me to put out there that Indina University is undefeated when Taylor Wayer takes the floor for competition.
Secondly, I don’t think anyone – including the media involved – wants the media challenge to take a larger role than it already has in the Indiana basketball landscape. Let’s be honest, besides Inside The Hall’s Justin Albers (who I believe to have been recruited with illicit tactics and given impermissible benefits that coerced him into playing with the bloggers’ team) and our own Tony Adragna, the IU basketball media mafia is wildly bereft of talent. For the vast majority of the media, running the Assembly Hall would be just as unpleasant as watching us do it would be. So yes, while it’s true that me and my green Lollapalooza headband would be a draw (just check the official IU Men’s Basketball twitter feed) there are other, far-superior ways to appeal to the Hoosier faithful.
Honestly, I love Hoosier Hysteria just the way it is. Is the pageantry occasionally a little over the top? I think one could argue that it is, but for an event built to appease a ravenous fan base and sway recruits, it’s better to err on the side of being overzealous.
Take last year for instance: IU’s players were introduced; Tom Crean talked to those in attendance for a little while; a three-point shootout and a slam dunk contest were carried out and the players scrimmaged for a little while. It’s not an event built to cater to a wide range of people, just rabid IU fans. And based on last year’s turnout, it does its job very well. While I like the theory behind making Hoosier Hysteria a student-only event that wouldn’t start until midnight, I’m not sure how well it would work in practice.
I’m inclined to keep Hoosier Hysteria just the way it is. I see Hoosier Nation’s national holiday the same way I see the Olympic Opening Ceremonies: neither really gives viewers anything of substance, but it’s still a pretty decent show. I don’t think anyone would tell you that watching Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey throw down monstrous dunks indicates how the season will go, but what’s the harm in showing off some of what the number one team in the country has to offer?
Sure, Hoosier Hysteria is a little hokey, but then what tradition isn’t?