Hoosiers ready for the Big Apple

MADISON, WI - FEBRUARY 05: Robert Johnson #4 of the Indiana Hoosiers takes a three point shot during the second half of a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Kohl Center on February 5, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Win four games in four days. That’s the only way the Indiana basketball team will get into the Big Dance this year. In Archie Miller’s first season as head coach in Bloomington, the Hoosiers enter this week’s Big Ten tournament with a record of 16-14 overall and 9-9 in conference play.

“It should be a very competitive conference tournament, just looking at the league throughout the course of the season,” Miller said Tuesday afternoon. “We really want to go there and be prepared to play as well as we can. You know, we want to advance. So we’re excited to get to New York.”

For the first time ever, the Big Ten will play its postseason tournament in historic Madison Square Garden. As the six seed, the Hoosiers will face the winner of the Minnesota-Rutgers game at approximately 9 p.m. Thursday night. A win would send them to a Friday night date with arch rival Purdue.

Senior Robert Johnson has played in the “world’s most famous arena” before, and is looking forward to returning to the big stage. “I just feel like, you know, playing there and in the mecca of basketball always fun as far as the atmosphere, just everything surrounding the excitement of playing in New York.”

A deep run depends largely on the performance of Juwan Morgan. The junior forward averages a team high 16.6 points per game and was named second team All-Big Ten. “I think it’s a great honor to be recognized, and then just with all the great players on all the teams throughout the Big Ten, it’s definitely a good feeling.”

Now the Hoosiers sit back and wait to see if they’ll be facing the Gophers or Scarlet Knights on Thursday night. Not knowing the opponent broadens the preparation, but Miller isn’t complaining: “Both teams will give us problems. The good thing is, I think with a late game, though, regardless of the circumstances, you have some time to prepare your guys. It’s not as if they play and you wake up the next morning and you go at 12:00; so we have some time to do it.”

The Hoosiers have gone toe to toe with some heavy hitters this season such as Duke, Purdue, and Ohio State; but now it’s time to close the deal over the course of four games in four days.