Analysis: It's time for a little Hysteria

There is excitement in the air as Indiana basketball will be on display tonight for its annual Hoosier Hysteria event at Assembly Hall.

Excitement is in the air as Indiana basketball prepares to put on its annual Hoosier Hysteria event tonight at Assembly Hall.

It’s always hard to put it exactly into words but there’s just a sense of anticipation that comes with Hoosier Hysteria.

Myself, I’m a little old school here in terms of yearning for the days when you count down the final minutes before Midnight struck on the official first day of practice. You had the feeling that the Hoosiers were getting a jump start on everyone else and having a chance to kick off the season at the earliest possible moment.

No one really believed that a lot got accomplished from a team standpoint in that first workout which was barely a workout at all. There were the introductions, a couple of contests and a short scrimmage. In many ways it’s the same as we’ll see tonight in an event that is taking place a few weeks after practice officially began.

Now I totally get the reasons for doing it at a more reasonable time in the evening. It’s better for the sleep habits of the players, the students in attendance and likely for all those people that would normally be driving up State Road 37 at 2 or 3 a.m. headed back to Indianapolis. I was one of those people for many years and remember how that could mess with your clock.

I’m not saying the other way was the better way, it’s simply more of a nostalgia thing.

Whether in its current form or the one done in the past, the same end game is reached – Fans begin to get excited about the upcoming season. There is simply excitement and electricity in the air.

Whether it’s fair or not, the event usually comes about the time that people are starting to think less about football and more about basketball. IU’s football fortunes have often necessitated that and this year is no different. Perhaps Zander Diamont and company can turn things around and still win a few more games but that will be a tough uphill climb.

With IU basketball though, it’s different. Right now, the Hoosiers are 0-0 and people are looking at this group – this undersized group – and trying to envision how it could compete in the upper half of the Big Ten for the 2015 conference season.

The foreign trip to Canada this summer provided a glimmer of hope and now the Hoosiers will need to take the next step. But again, all of that, is part of what Hoosier fans will feel beginning tonight when the Hoosiers experience Hoosier Hysteria.

IU fans eagerly await their first official glimpse of James Blackmon Jr. They want to see Robert Johnson in action, too. They are interested in the development of Hanner Mosquera-Perea and if Troy Williams has fine-tuned his game. They know that Yogi will be Yogi and always be a crowd pleaser. They want to see was Nick Zeisloft brings to the table, too. There are a lot of good story lines with this IU basketball team and IU fans are eager to see some of them unfold tonight.

I remember some of my favorite moments for Hoosier Hysteria events of the past. I remember the night that Andre Owens took his shirt off as he tried to exhort the crowd before his final dunk in the slam dunk contest. That was the last time anyone dared try that stunt again.

I remember the night that Eric Gordon was in the building as a high school senior and how we finally were able to talk with him in the parking lot at around 1:30 or 2 a.m. The rules stated that as long as he was in the building he was technically on his recruiting visit but once he got to the parking lot his visit was over and we could talk with him. I just remember how beat he was but how he graciously fielded a few questions.

I remember how Tom Crean talked about the first year after he took over the program how it was more of a layup contest than a dunk contest and how that changed when Victor Oladipo soared over a group of kids huddled in the lane and dunked it.

That Oladipo dunk is the one of those Hoosier Hysteria memories that will forever be etched in my mind when I think of the event.

One last thing, if you go to Assembly Hall tonight make sure to bring a canned food item or two to support the local food bank. That’s one of the great things about this event annually it how it helps support the food bank, too.

Enjoy making your next set of IU basketball memories tonight at the Hall.

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