It was a wild day at Assembly Hall on Tuesday, and it had nothing to do with anything that actually happened on the court.
Just after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, a piece of metal weighing approximately 50 pounds fell from the Assembly Hall roof and damaged a few seats in the lower bowl of the section below. Just an hour later, the University determined it was best to postpone Tuesday night's game against Iowa.
In a press conference Tuesday night, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said the collapse was related to the amount of snow and ice the roof has endured this winter. With Tuesday's warmer temperatures, that ice and snow began to melt, which put more weight on the piece of metal that eventually fell.
Here are five things we learned from Tuesday night's press conference.
1. THE GAME WILL NOT BE MADE UP IN INDY: At least not tomorrow night, that is. The Pacers reached out to Glass on Tuesday to offer Bankers Life Fieldhouse as a venue to host the IU-Iowa game on Wednesday night. Glass and his staff considered the offer, discussed it with Iowa, but ultimately determined that the 24-hour turnaround was unreasonable.
It makes sense. It'd be virtually impossible for IU to get all of its students up to Indy for the game, and the homecourt advantage wouldn't be nearly as noticeable as it would be at Assembly Hall.
So, when will the game be played? Well, Glass seemed optimistic that it would be played at Assembly Hall, and that's a good sign. But both teams' schedules are tight from here on out, so it won't be easy to fit it in. Here are a couple of possibilities, though:
Thursday February 27: Both teams play on the 25th, so they would have had a day off before the game. Iowa hosts Purdue on Saturday and Indiana hosts Ohio State on Sunday. So it is doable in this time frame.
Monday, March 10: This is the Monday before the Big Ten Tournament begins in Indianapolis. Not ideal, but both teams would still have at least two full days off before they'd play Thursday (at the earliest) in the conference tourney.
By Big Ten rule, the two schools have 72 hours to come to an agreement on a reschedule date. If they fail to do so during that window, then the Big Ten chooses the date. Glass was optimistic the task would get done before the 72 hours runs up.
2. ASSEMBLY HALL WILL HOST AN EVENT ON WEDNESDAY: That's right, just a day after the piece of metal fell, Wednesday night's women's basketball game against Michigan will go on as scheduled at 7 p.m. Seating may be limited for that game depending on whether the problem can be solved in the short time frame, but it's a good sign the venue will host an event so quickly. Tuesday's issue is considered "very isolated" based on the engineers' preliminary evaluation of the situation.
3. OTHER HOME GAME SHOULD BE OK: Again, this is based off of a preliminary evaluation only, but it seems very likely Indiana's other remaining home games will be played at Assembly Hall and not some other venue. The Hoosiers aren't scheduled to play at home against until Sunday, March 2 against Ohio State, so there should be plenty of time to evaluate and fix the problem, assuming it's not more serious than initially assumed.
4. RENOVATION TEAM WAS MEETING WHEN IT HAPPENED: This is incredibly ironic. Glass and the rest of the Assembly Hall renovation team were meeting for the first time when the metal plate fell. The arena will get a $40 million renovation by 2016, which was announced just a couple of months ago. Glass said the renovation will go on as scheduled and shot down any talk of building a new arena.
Personally, I think that's the right way to go, assuming the incident is isolated and there isn't a serious risk of more problems in the future. The University and the athletic department were just incredibly lucky it happened when it did and not a few hours later when people when in those seats.
"An incredible, tragic crisis was averted," Indiana coach Tom Crean said.
5. TOUGH STRETCH FOR IU GETS TOUGHER: This is secondary to safety of course, but Indiana's basketball team is harmed by what happened at Assembly Hall today. Because of the postponement, Indiana now must go on the road to Northwestern on Saturday and Wisconsin on Tuesday without a home game in between. It's effectively a road trip for IU when you consider the Hoosiers last played at Purdue on Saturday.
IU desperately wanted to get back on the floor again after losing three straight games, and it will not have to wait a few more days to do so. Plus, the Hoosiers will now likely face a short turnaround somewhere down the road when they try to fit this Iowa game back into an already busy end of the season schedule.
"When you look at our schedule, their schedule, and look at where the possibilities could be without having any true idea to this point, there is going to be no way around that," Crean said. "So bottom line is you just adjust, and that's what we've done today our guys were extremely ready to play in that sense to be where we needed to be to have that mindset going into the game tonight. I'm disappointed we didn't get to do that. But that pales in comparison to what any of us would have felt like at 9:30, 10:00 tonight if something would have happened inside that building, and that is exactly how I said it to the players after practice."