Divided Loyalty

The unthinkable happened last night.

I was forced to root against the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team for the first time in my life.

In one of the strangest turns of fate, IU actually took the court against my alma mater, NAIA Division 2 powerhouse Grace College.

Now I love the Hoosiers, but considering that I spent 6 years of my life at Grace (I got my masters there as well), and many of my close friends work there, and the president’s son is one my best friends, I had no choice to trade in my cream and crimson for black and red.

For about 18 minutes, it looked like I would forever be able to mock Demond as my beloved Lancers gave his Hoosiers everything they could handle.  As Terry Hutchins said,

As Grace College was going toe-to-toe with Indiana throughout the first half and the game was still tied at 36-all with 90 seconds to play before the intermission, I have to admit my mind was beginning to wander. The thought I couldn’t get out of my head was a simple one: “In five weeks, these guys are going to play Kentucky?”

Now, in IU’s defense, these guys are really young and haven’t really played together very much. They’re still learning what to expect from each other. They’re still learning Tom Crean’s system. And sometimes when you try so hard you end up making more mistakes than if you were relaxed. This was what I thought IU fans saw over and over Wednesday night. A lot of point blank misses. A lot of chances to convert inside that were unsuccessful. Several defensive lapses where the Hoosiers got beat on back door cuts or pick-and-rolls with Grace’s big kids.

This troubles me greatly as an IU fan because I have it on good authority that four of Grace’s best players were banged up last night.
In the Hoosiers’ defense, they did pull away and crush Grace in the second half, but seriously, Grace has fewer than 1500 students, Indiana has 15 million.  Indiana has 5 national championship banners, Grace has one NAIA D2 National Championship.  The fact that they were on the same court together embarrasses me as a fan of both.  All things considered the plucky Gracies acquitted themselves very well.
Oh, but if they could only have won…
I would have been able to mock my brother forever.
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