Bloomington, Ind. – Hearing his name during introductions followed by an ovation as loud as any player's is not something Indiana head coach Mike Davis is used to.
After announcing his resignation effective at the end of the season the 17,000-plus crowd at Assembly Hall showed Davis they do appreciate his accomplishments.
"That definitely meant something to me," said Davis. "You could definitely hear it. I'm happy that they're happy. It was nice to hear that."
Davis will have one more chance to win one for the Hoosier faithful at Assembly Hall when Indiana suits up against Michigan State on Sunday.
"It's going to be a big game for us on Sunday," said Davis. "It's going to be emotional for me. When they cheered tonight it felt good. To me it's going to mean more to me because it's going to be my last game and I've had some great times here. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
The game will mark Indiana's 47th Big Ten home game under Davis. He missed the only home conference game in his career earlier this season in Indiana's loss to Iowa. Davis holds a 38-8 conference record at home and has not lost a game on the sidelines since the season finale in 2004.
After Indiana plays MSU this weekend, the Hoosiers will be saying goodbye to more than just Davis. Marshall Strickland, Sean Kline, Marco Killingsworth and Lewis Monroe will also be playing in their final home game as Hoosiers and Davis expects to spend the day saying thanks alongside his players.
"It's important that we win," said Davis. "That's the number one thing. It's going to be a sad time, but then again it's going to be a great time, too."
The end of the Davis era is close, but the season is not over for Indiana. With three conference games and the conference tournament still ahead, the Hoosiers will have a chance to finish the conference season above .500, possibly work themselves into the NCAA Tournament and send Davis off on the right note. The Hoosiers currently stand at 14-10 after beating Penn State at home and Davis feels 17 wins will be able to catapult Indiana into the NCAAs.
"We are just going to take it one game at a time," said Davis. "If we can go .500 in this league that's pretty good.
"Our goal is to take it one day at a time and we still haven't won a road game. We are going to try to make sure we take care of our home court Sunday. That is the most important game for us. I still believe in our kids. They are really changing their attitudes, their personality and their approach. Tonight, you probably noticed that we had some of those moments where we coasted and were just going through the motions, but there was more moments of us playing with energy."
With wins over Ohio State, Illinois and Michigan the Hoosiers have beaten some of the tougher teams in the conference. However, losses to Penn State and Minnesota, two losses to Iowa and a 0-6 road mark make the Hoosiers a bubble team leaning in the wrong direction. With two straight seasons without Indiana in the NCAA tournament, Davis is going to try his best to make sure he leaves Indiana on his terms.
"Like I said before it's been a blessing for me to be here," said Davis. "It's been a great opportunity for me, unfortunately I didn't get the job done the way I would have liked, but at the same time I'm excited for the future of this program. I hope I can be a part of this program forever."
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