With respect to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and every other place in America that considers itself a “basketball city,” nowhere does the game matter as much as it does in Indiana. Spend a single January day in the state and it won’t take long to realize that watching or playing basketball is the pastime of choice for a majority of Hoosiers, even more so than auto racing, drinking heavily, complaining about the weather, or wondering why they still live in Indiana. This is why 13 of the 14 largest high school gyms in the country are in Indiana. This is why some of the state’s biggest heroes are Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Bob Knight, and Josh McRoberts’s knee-high socks. This is why the best sports movie ever made is entitled Hoosiers and not New Yorkers or Whatever the Hell People From Illinois Call Themselves. Simply put, Hoosiers spend so much time obsessing over basketball because the only entertainment alternatives in a state full of corn are to tip over cows or run a meth lab.
I don't know what my exact Bucket List is for BS Report guests, just that Larry Bird, David Letterman, Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Murphy are leading the way. While we were in Indianapolis last week, we were offered the chance to sit down with Larry Legend for 30 minutes which, of course, I stretched to 40 without blinking. Afterward, a few of my friends asked me if this was the hardest interview I ever did — you know, because he's my favorite athlete and the Basketball Jesus and all — but actually, it was one of the easiest. How could I ever be prepared to interview ANYONE more than Larry Bird? Like I needed to study for this one? I have been preparing for this podcast since 1978. Anyway, it was a fun 40 minutes, I could have kept going for another four hours, and I actually — gasp — learned a few new things about his time with the Celtics, which I didn't expect since I thought I knew everything.
Last year, the Indiana Hoosiers finished 12-20. It was Tom Crean’s third season as coach, and those 12 wins were the most for the Hoosiers during his tenure. Crean needs the team to improve this year; he could lose his job if they don’t. So far, he's getting that. Indiana is 11-0 and the only team to have beaten third-ranked Kentucky. As the Hoosiers prepare for the beginning of the conference play, they’re a top-20 team with a chance of challenging Ohio State for the Big Ten crown.