Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Indiana teams back on top

Indiana has always been identified as the heartland of college basketball. Known for its pure-bred shooters, high shorts and sound passing, Indiana college basketball has enjoyed a long and prestigious history.

It was the growing grounds for Boston Celtic legend Larry Bird, the inspiration for one of the greatest sports movie of all time, “Hoosiers,” and ex-home of legendary Indiana head coach Bob Knight.

Fast-forward to present day and one finds the re-emergence of Indiana basketball. Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame have combined for an impressive 42-11 record about a third of the way through conference play.

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“[Indiana]’s just a good basketball state,” Iowa head coach Steve Alford said, “regardless of if you’re talking about high school, small college or major college basketball.”

Purdue head coach Gene Keady said he hasn’t seen the three Indiana teams as strong as they are now in quite some time.

“Back in the middle ’80s, (Notre Dame, Indiana, and Purdue) were doing pretty well,” Keady said. “The reason I knew we were doing well (was) because each of us had commercials; one for Coke, one for Diet Coke and one for Sprite. They wouldn’t have been paying us if we weren’t winning.”

Even without big names like Knight, new personalities such as Indiana senior Tom Coverdale, head coach Mike Davis and Notre Dame sophomore Chris Thomas have helped Indiana teams to big records and put Indiana back in the limelight of college basketball.

Boilermakers Bubbling

Although Michigan is atop the Big Ten (6-0, 13-6), the Purdue Boilermakers have emerged as one of the early-season surprises in conference play. Coming off a mediocre season in 2001-02, Purdue is piping hot, coming off of a 69-47 thrashing of No. 15 Indiana Saturday.

“They have a lot more firepower this year” Ohio State head coach Jim O’Brien said. This extra burst this season has been attributed to the return of junior guard Kenneth Lowe from serious injury a year ago.

“Lowe was hurt last year,” Alford said. “And I think he’s the X-factor, the difference-maker.”

Lowe is averaging a team high 28 minutes a game to go along with 12 points and three rebounds per contest.

“[Lowe]’s the guy that gets our intensity going,” Keady said. “He raises the level of play with his focus and intensity.”

Purdue (4-1, 12-4) looks to continue riding its hot streak and remain in the upper tier of the Big Ten when the Boilermakers host Ohio State Wednesday night.

Road Warrior 101

The key to winning in the Big Ten — and in any conference for that matter — is being able to win on the road. The struggling Northwestern Wildcats (8-8, 0-5) have played three of their first five games on the road, placing them in the cellar of the Big Ten conference. Conversely, first-place Michigan has enjoyed the luxury of playing four of its first six games in the confines of home court, Crisler Arena.

“Each [home court] has a huge crowd, sold out for the most part,” Illinois head coach Bill Self lamented. “It gives the home team so much energy; there is so much intensity and electricity in the buildings.”

Home-court advantage is almost a sixth man for some teams, and getting wins on the road requires a unique recipe.

“One thing is you have to be consistent on defense, whether it is home or away, but even more so on the road.” Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker said. “Another is having poise to handle the ups and downs and the runs people make against you.”

So far this season in the Big Ten, the home team is 22-8.

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