Indiana and Army have been playing basketball for more than 120 years. But the Hoosiers and the Cadets have never met on the court until Sunday, just 11 days after Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight’s passing.
Knight launched his college coaching career at West Point in 1965 before moving to Indiana in 1971 and claiming 659 wins and three national championships in 29 seasons.
The Hoosiers, who wear jersey patches with the initials “RMK” to honor Knight, carry a 1-0 record into the nonconference game against Army (0-2). And Knight’s influence remains strong at Indiana as Mike Woodson, one of his finest players, is in his third season as the Hoosiers’ head coach.
Woodson, like Knight, worries about the defensive end first. Also like Knight, Woodson isn’t afraid to use a postgame news conference to get his point across — albeit in a much more matter-of-fact manner.
After Indiana’s 69-63 home win over Florida Gulf Coast, which required a 14-0 run midway through the second half to erase a six-point deficit, Woodson was asked about senior Trey Galloway’s team-high 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
The 65-year-old head coach calmly transformed the question into an opportunity to discuss young guns Mackenzie Mgbako, CJ Gunn and Kaleb Banks, who combined for four points and apparently surrendered far more in their 29 minutes.
“My concern is C.J. and Caleb and Mackenzie, because all three are capable of scoring, too,” Woodson said. “So, when they’re in the game, I’ve got to get them comfortable, No. 1, and they got to figure out what the hell we’re doing from a defensive standpoint because a lot of that was miscues on their part as well.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do, put it that way.”
Even if the Hoosiers put in no work defensively, Sunday’s game figures to be a struggle offensively for Army. The Cadets averaged 49.5 points and shot 31 percent from the field in their losses to Marist and Stonehill. On the other end, several Cadets are going to be fired up to be playing in Indiana.
First-year head coach Kevin Kuwik, who spent last year as Thad Matta’s assistant at Butler, attended Notre Dame. Co-captain Charlie Peterson played at Indianapolis’ North Central High School while starting guard Blake Barker hails from Columbus, Ind. — less than an hour east of Bloomington.
–Field Level Media
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