Tonight brings another divide in my family, my past, and my connections to college towns. I was born a Spartan fan. My mother went to MSU (while my father went to IU) and I grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, where MSU's campus is located. So when the Hoosiers take on the Spartans tonight at Assembly Hall, I'll feel a bit torn, as I have every time the two teams have faced each other.
Both teams have worked hard to get to where they are and both teams have an immense amount of potential to make it far into the tournament this year. No matter what the outcome (although let's hope that IU pulls out the victory), I'll be a happy camper. Although I've spent countless evenings at the Breslin Center cheering on the Green and White, I must say that nothing compares to the atmosphere that Tom Crean has built in Assembly Hall this past season. His tweets are inspiring and rally the student body and community to stand behind the basketball team.
I sat behind the Indiana bench during the Penn State game this season with my dad and I have to admit that was the best basketball game I've ever attended. With four brothers and a lifetime of basketball in my past, I've attended, played, watched, coached, and witnessed too many basketball games to count. That game, however, will forever stick out in my memory. Not only because we got to sit so close to the action, or because the halftime show of young girls performing tricks while jump-roping was amazing, or even because we were victorious that day. It was just because I got to spy on Mellencamp and his girlfriend Meg in the corner or that my face was on the big screen. That game was my favorite basketball game ever because of the environment I was in at Assembly Hall. There is something so special about sharing in such a deeply rooted tradition and past time with my father, an IU alum. Since he experienced the thrill of a good basketball team while at IU, I think we made a connection that day, since I was finally experiencing that.