Nothing can replace the real March Madness. We all know that.
March is unequivocally the best month on the sports calendar, and unfortunately this year it has coincided with a global pandemic that has necessitated the cancellation of our favorite sporting event.
So the question has become: what is a desperate Indiana basketball fan to do? Especially with so much extra time on our hands while we take the smart and selfless step of self-quarantining to help “flatten the curve,” reduce the virus’ speed of spread, and hopefully lessen the immediate pressure on our already strained healthcare system.
The answer is: you find opportunities to scratch your basketball itch wherever you can.
One great way to do this is by rewatching old IU games and remembering some of the great teams, players, and moments that our storied program has been a part of.
And we’re excited to do our part to help facilitate these rewatches and make it a communal activity. It’s obviously going to be an isolating few months for all of us, so we should take every opportunity we can to enjoy some fun shared experiences.
This is why, in conjunction with our friends at CrimsonCast and IUArtifacts, we have organized a series of live rewatches and postgame shows for classic NCAA Tournament games featuring our Hoosiers.
How the live rewatch series will work
The way it will work is simple:
- On the date of the rewatch (schedule below), we will all hit PLAY on that day’s game at a coordinated time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
- Everyone who is watching can tweet thoughts and observations using the #iubb hashtag, just like you do during a live game.
- As soon as the game is over, we will host a live postgame show breaking down the game in the same format we usually do. Each game will feature a different trio from The Assembly Call, CrimsonCast, and IUArtifacts.
- The postgame shows will go live as usual on Periscope, Facebook, and YouTube — with the #ChatMob providing their usual wit and wisdom in the YouTube chat. (Subscribe to our YouTube channel here.)
- Then Cam and Dylan will write their usual postgame analysis email, which we will send the morning after each rewatch. (Subscribe to our email list here.)
- Note: If you can’t rewatch the games live or watch the live postgame show, don’t worry! You can do your rewatch any time, and the postgame show will be available on our YouTube channel and podcast feed for on-demand viewing/listening.
It obviously won’t be the same experience as watching the 2019-20 Hoosiers make a deep tournament run, but it’s the closest approximation we can provide.
And we’re fortunate to have so many great tournament moments to choose from!
To take the approximation of a real NCAA Tournament experience as far as possible, we set up the schedule to simulate a real tournament run:
- We chose one game from each round of the tournament, starting with a Round of 64 matchup and going all the way through the championship game. (Current times may be tough, but remember: we’re still one of the few fan bases that could actually do this.)
- We’re going to do rewatches the next two Fridays and Sundays, just like the real schedule for the opening weekends of the tournament, and then switch to the Saturday/Monday Final Four schedule for the third week.
And since we have the massive inconvenience of actually having 60 percent of our NCAA Championship victories available to watch on YouTube, we had to tack on two additional rewatches to fit them all in.
I mean, really: how could you choose just one championship game to rewatch? (Oh to be a Purdue fan, and not have to deal with such scheduling challenges. We could have ended more than a week earlier!)
So there will be eight scheduled rewatches in all, starting this Friday and going through April 12th.
The schedule and games
A few quick thoughts on how we chose the games:
- We tried to include games from different eras that had particularly interesting and perhaps overlooked storylines. For that reason, we decided to pass on games like the IU-Duke game from 2002, which are incredibly compelling, but which have also already been dissected from every angle.
- We chose only wins … because in this time of #MarchSadness, do we really need anything else to bring us down? (Perhaps we’ll do notable losses at a later date.)
- We had to work within the confines of what games are available in full online. For example, we wanted to include the 2012 VCU game and the 2016 Kentucky game, but neither is available. And there aren’t many full games available prior to the mid-80s.
Here is the full schedule, with links to YouTube videos that we’ll use for the rewatches:
- Friday, March 20th: IU v Oklahoma in the 1998 Round of 64 — This was one of the Bob Knight’s final tournament victories at IU; it stars AJ Guyton, Andrae Patterson, and Luke Recker; it features a thrilling finish; and, yes, that guy is on the opposing sidelines.
- Sunday, March 22nd: IU v LSU in the 1992 Round of 32 — This is one of the best Indiana teams to not win a national championship, featuring at least five players who you can casually refer to as an “all-time great” Hoosier, and in this game have to deal with the unstoppable force that was a young Shaquille O’Neal.
- Friday, March 27th: IU v Louisville in the 1993 Sweet 16 — Yet another of the best Indiana teams to not win a national championship, this was the final victory of the Calbert Cheaney/Greg Graham era (and one of their best combined performances); say the “Dwayne Morton Game” and all IU fans of a certain age will know you mean this one.
- Sunday, March 29th: IU v Kent State in the 2002 Elite 8 — This is the game after the famous comeback victory over Duke; it features one of the greatest shooting performances in NCAA Tournament history, as well as a future NFL Hall of Famer playing a key role for the opposition. And it gets a little tighter at the end than many people remember.
- Saturday, April 4th: IU v UNLV in the 1987 Final Four — Whenever people discuss Bob Knight’s greatest single-game coaching jobs, this one always comes up; Steve Alford turned in one of the greatest individual scoring performances in IU NCAA Tournament history to help counter a UNLV team that played a style well ahead of its time.
- Monday, April 6th: IU v Michigan in the 1976 National Championship Game — The game that clinched the last undefeated season in college basketball; the Hoosiers were actually down at halftime and had to deal with an injury to one of their most important players.
- Friday, April 10th: IU v North Carolina in the 1981 National Championship Game — The conclusion of one of the most dominant runs in NCAA Tournament history, featuring the greatest point guard in IU history. Would you believe that three Hoosiers played all 40 minutes and another played 34? It’s true.
- Sunday, April 12: IU v Syracuse in the 1987 National Championship Game — The final banner that Bob Knight hung at IU, which features an incredible performance from Indiana’s backcourt, as well as the play that Bob Knight called “the greatest single play I ever had a kid make.” And no, he’s not referring to Keith Smart’s shot.
If you plan on joining us for these rewatches, please bookmark this page so you’ll have the schedule and YouTube links handy.
And if you have any questions, comment below or shoot us a note on Twitter: @AssemblyCall.
We’re really excited to do these rewatches, and to share the experience with you. It’s not the same as our regular March basketball viewing experience, but it sure as heck will be better than no basketball viewing experience at all.
We’ll talk to you on Thursday night for Assembly Call Radio and then on Friday night for the beginning of the rewatch series.
See you then!