Tonight is the start of college basketball season, and for the first time in a long time, Indiana has legitimate Final Four hopes. Of course I don’t count our trip to the 2002 championship game. For two reasons, 1.) No one thought, at the beginning, or the middle of that year, that we were heading to the Final Four. And 2.) I’ve watched that Duke game at least four times and I still have no idea how we won that game. So, can’t say when the season tipped off that I was doing any more than my usual, rosy glasses hope that we’d be cutting the nets down.

This year, I feel an excitement I haven’t felt in a long time, maybe 1993.

I’m watching Big Ten Tonight on the Big Ten Network right now, our source for not only Hoosier Hysteria, but also, for the first time in years, both of IU’s exhibition games. I can’t even begin to express how glad I am that these games are back on TV. As much as I LOOOOOVE listening to Don Fischer (across the timeline) call an IU game, I can’t get a gauge on how well the team is playing, how well they do the little things, by just listening to it, and growing up we got to see ALLL the games, no exceptions, and if one wasn’t on TV for some strange reason it was cause for surprise and truly justified anger.

First glimpse of the Hoosiers, a bumper on the way to commercial after 10 minutes of talking football. Women’s three point shooting!!!!!!

The coverage of the first practices is being split between 5 different schools. Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin (and this one is strange and frightening to me. 6’10"  white guys dancing to  "What is Love." and black guys in cowboy hats dancing to "Achy Breaky Heart."  I was about to call shenanigans on the whole thing until one of them came out to Deringer’s "Real American" and did a Hogan style pose down. The Bo Ryan danced to some song called either called soldier boy or by a guy named soldier boy. Hard to tell. Bo Ryan is AWESOME!!! Kelvin Sampson should dance more. Minnesota joins Indiana as the other teams. It also looks like I’m gonna have to hit the internets to see the extended clips of Hoosier Hysteria.

At this point, 26 minutes in, it looks like all we’re gonna get of IU is bumps into commercial. So far, I gotta say this coverage is leaving A LOT to be desired.

OK, got to see AJ and DJ introduced to the crowd. They danced. Then fade to commercial. After my trip to Bloomington this weekend and catching these two announcements, it seems clear that Chuck Crabb is no longer announcing home games. This is sad to me. I’m sure it was his choice to step down and not do this anymore, so good for him, but for those of us who grew up with that voice. I don’t know. It seems like something’s missing.

Cut to Kelvin Sampson’s crowd address. He announces that Eli Holman has cleared NCAA Clearinghouse. GREAT NEWS!!! And also that DeAndre Thomas has dropped 50 pounds. He’s down under 300 pounds. That’s fantastic IU has kids that are willing to work hard and get things done.

He’s been talking for under 3 minutes and the crowd has busted into Er-IC GOR-DON, and E-Li HOL-MAN chants. I’m calling for an end to this cheer. I don’t know what the fans are going to do if we get a big time fan favorite whose name can’t be broken down in to four syllables like that. Just shut up with that cheer already. Plus, I bet it make A.J. Moye feels a little cheap when you use his cheer for other people.

Sampson gives props to the football team. God it’s fun to have a football team getting it done. He reaches a little with the BCS mention. The cheers for that are scattered as I’m sure most IU fans feel like I do. I expect us to make a bowl, and continue to do well this season, but I’ve been watching IU Football for going on 20 years now, and for the past 14 of them the wheels have either fallen off or never been attached to begin with. So, I’ll continue to cheer with the fear that the whole damn thing is gonna come crashing down around our ears any second.

Finally get to see some scrimmage. Another fucking four syllacheer. For a recruit this time.

Now I’m watching Tubby Smith Dance. I’m rethinking my desire to have Kelvin Sampson dance. Did a memo go out from the BTN requesting that middle age men dance this year to really put this thing over, three count in the middle of the ring, no foot on the ropes, no chairs style?

OK, Eric Gordon just pulled up and drilled a 3, then Lance hits one. Those are two very good things. I can’t wait to see Gordon in action. This could be a lot of fun.

Illinois has replaced a dancing Indian mascot with some tribal African dancing. I have no context for this what so ever. Other than it looks a little like the way Vanessa danced during the opening credits for season, I don’t know, the first one with Olivia, of the Cosby show. With no understanding of the reasoning  behind this dancing, I’ll just say I don’t get it.

This coverage is giving me a headache. They’re bouncing around from one school to another. It’s really hard to follow.

The MSU team was clearly forbidden to wear shirts. Again, I don’t know. It’s all about 300 I guess, but Izzo is dressed like Caesar.

To quote Walter Sobchak, HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE CRAZY?!!!!!

That’s it for the BTN coverage of this. I’ll get back with you when I see the extended stuff. If you didn’t see this and are just reading it. Trust me when I say the way I wrote this is no more disjointed than how it looked on my televisions.

More Later.

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