Don't look now, but Curt Miller and the Indiana women's basketball team may be the best one in Bloomington this year.
While the men have had their ups and downs (currently down), the IU women have started off strong, and haven't stopped for anything short of the weather. The team has rattled off a program-record 14 straight wins to begin the season, and only a snow out of Monday's scheduled game against Purdue has been able to cool off the Hoosiers, one of four remaining undefeated teams in women's basketball. Indiana has played a couple close games, and has blown a couple teams out. Their last game before their impromptu break was a 2 point win over the then-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. For all of their efforts, the Hoosier women have climbed to 22nd in the AP poll, marking their first ranking in almost 21 years, and are receiving votes in the coaches poll. The Hoosiers welcome Ohio State Saturday afternoon to see if they can keep their winning streak going. The postponed game with Purdue has apparently been rescheduled for the 17th, and is the only meeting between the teams this year.
The men's team, on the other hand, travels to Penn State Saturday at noon, trying to avoid an 0-3 start to the conference season. It feels way too early in the season to be calling anything a must win, but many fans are pointing to this game as one the Hoosiers have to win if they want any hope of making the NCAA Tournament. No one is really sure what to make of this team, other than general agreement that something is definitely wrong. Some point to a lack of player development, particularly on the part of Jeremy Hollowell continuing to underperform the expectations of many fans. An extremely vocal minority place the blame for everything squarely on the shoulders of Coach Crean, and will hear no good things about the man, preferring to pine for former Butler and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens. Whatever the missing piece for the Hoosiers is, the hope is that they find it before March comes and goes without an NCAA berth.
The fortunes of the basketball teams seem to be headed in opposite directions. If Crean's Hoosiers continue to disappoint, perhaps Miller's group will start playing for fuller crowds at Assembly Hall as they seek their own NCAA berth for the first time in at least a few years.