In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• A few reasons why Indiana fans should be cautiously optimistic about Juwan’s availability for Thursday night.
• Indiana did something on Saturday that only two other teams have done this season.
• The Hoosiers’ computer rankings finally ticked back up.
• Happy belated birthday to one of the stars of Saturday night’s game.
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Welcome to another edition of Banner Morning, as we all still bask in the glow of Indiana’s Saturday surprise in East Lansing.
In player news …
The biggest question for IU fans coming out of Saturday’s win at Michigan State — other than is this real life? — was the health of Juwan Morgan, who did not play after injuring his shoulder diving for a loose ball in the first half.
Indiana has not released any official statements on Morgan’s health, and I don’t expect them to. But here are three reasons why I feel relatively confident about his ability to return to the court on Thursday night for Indiana’s home showdown against Iowa:
- One, he returned to the bench in the second half still in uniform and without any brace or other protective gear. He even participated in some postgame celebrating. One would think that even the suspicion of a serious injury would have led to more caution.
- Two, fans who met the team at Cook Hall late Saturday night reported that Juwan seemed okay, and even said he was okay. He reportedly even lifted his suitcase with his left arm.
- And three, there is precedent here. Last season, Juwan left the game at Michigan State in the first half and didn’t return. At the time, everyone thought he would have to miss at least a few games. But sure enough, Juwan suited up for Indiana’s next game and delivered one of the best performances of his career — a 25-point masterpiece that led Indiana to victory against Maryland.
So there are reasons to be optimistic, but we’ll see for sure on Thursday night.
In rankings news …
After three straight weeks of nothing but depressing updates on Indiana’s computer rankings, there is finally upward movement to report — as you would expect given the magnitude of Indiana’s victory.
If you look at the current top 10 according to KenPom, there have only been three total home losses by those teams:
- Syracuse won at Duke in overtime.
- Louisville won at North Carolina.
- And Indiana won at Michigan State.
Wins like that provide an extra heft to a team’s NCAA Tournament resume, which means Indiana will have a powerful tie-breaker if it finds itself near the bubble come Selection Sunday.
In the NCAA’s NET ranking, Indiana jump from 50th to 44th. The win propelled Indiana up three spots in KenPom, from 48 to 45. The Hoosiers are also now 35th in Sagarin and 53rd in Bart Torvik’s T-Rank.
There is still plenty of work to do, but the trajectory is finally pointing up.
And we had a birthday over the weekend …
Devonte Green turned 22 on Saturday. And what a birthday it was.
Returning from his three-game suspension, Devonte scored 11 points — including 3 key three-pointers — and also added 5 rebounds, 5 assists, a block and a steal.
For a team that was lacking in confidence, it clearly helped having a few dashes of Devonte’s audacity on Saturday night.
For the links mentioned in this edition of Banner Morning, visit assemblycall.com.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in and your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.