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Hoosier Hysteria 2020: A New Feel

The 2020 edition of Hoosier Hysteria was unlike any other.

The preseason pep rally was streamed on Facebook Live on Wednesday night, just a week before the regular season’s start. For the majority of the show, the viewership consisted of about 5,000 people watching.

It was also much shorter by comparison to the usual showing, lasting only about 18 minutes.

Not only was it the first virtual version of the annual event, but the structure and style were far different than years before. The traditional format of player intros, skill and dunk contests, and a full scrimmage was scrapped.

The reactions to this year's event were...mixed:

The opening featured a mix of highlights from the 2019-2020 season, including Trayce Jackson-Davis’ dunk on Minnesota, Rob Phinisee’s clutch 3-pointer in overtime vs Nebraska, and Armaan Franklin’s game-winning shot against Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic.

From there, the presentation included a run-through of the roster in order from freshman to seniors, and after that it was more of a behind-the-scenes look of the team and coaching staff.

Fun questions

The comedic aspect of Hoosier Hysteria was also a new aspect to this year. The players were asked three questions that everyone gave an answer to.

First, there was the very personal question of, “If you had a twin sister, which teammate would she date?”

This was met with plenty of shock by players giving mixed responses. Many said none of them would be allowed to date a theoretical twin sister. The most popular response was Al Durham, though.

The second question was, “If you had your own talk show, who would be your first guest?”

Answers were all over the board including Anthony Leal saying country singer Morgan Wallen, Race Thompson including NBA superstar LeBron James, and Khristian Lander mentioning iconic rapper Kendrick Lamar.

The final question finally brought some consensus. It was, “Which teammate singing causes you to cringe?”

There were a few differences, but the answer was overwhelmingly Jackson-Davis.

Weight room improvements

Arguably the most fascinating part of the event was when the stream showed all four of the freshmen going through a workout with strength coach Clif Marshall.

It started with Leal and Jordan Geronimo doing a dual workout together followed by another dual workout with Lander and Trey Galloway.

Seeing behind-the-scenes workouts and the actual progress the freshmen were making to get stronger and acclimated to college basketball was a nice feature that a regular Hoosier Hysteria couldn’t offer.

Marshall has built a reputation for dramatically transforming players’ bodies when they first get to campus, and for the first time the fans got to see an inside look of how he does it.

Practice clips

The last main segment was showing various clips of practice drills and brief bits of scrimmaging.

There was particular emphasis when showing Thompson. He was featured in drills done in the post, as well as a long stretch of him hitting 3-pointers, something he is not known for. If he is adding that to his arsenal, that would be a big boost for Indiana.

There were also a number of clips showing Jackson-Davis and Joey Brunk working on their finishing abilities in the post.

Phinisee and Franklin were also displayed driving to the hoop and attempting both midrange and 3-point jump shots.

Wrapping up with the schedule 

To close it out, Indiana head coach Archie Miller offered a few words of encouragement and excitement about the season.

The final bit included the newly finalized 2020-2021 schedule for the Hoosiers. The Big Ten portion of Indiana’s schedule was released just a few hours before Hoosier Hysteria, adding to the previously known nonconference part of it.

The 27-game total schedule will be challenging to say the least.

The 20 games in the Big Ten will start with Northwestern at home on Dec. 23 and finish with Purdue on the road on March 6.

Jerome Hunter waives to the Assembly Hall crowd during last year's Hoosier Hysteria. Man, remember crowds? Those were the days. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Indiana will play Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan State, Iowa, Rutgers, and Michigan twice.

Penn State, Maryland, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Minnesota are each on the schedule once.

The gauntlet of the Big Ten will be preceded by an additionally challenging non-conference schedule that will include five of their seven games being against high-major opponents.

The season will start with Tennessee Tech the day before Thanksgiving on Nov. 25, followed by Indiana playing in the Maui Invitational being held in Asheville, North Carolina.

Indiana will open with Providence, then the next day play either Texas or Davidson, and then finish on the third consecutive day with the last game being against one of four teams of North Carolina, UNLV, Stanford or Alabama.

After that, the Hoosiers will go to Florida State as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 9 and then wrap up with North Alabama at home on Dec. 13 and Butler in the Crossroads Classic on Dec. 19.

While Hoosier Hysteria didn’t provide much insight into how the team will look on the court, the schedule release along with seeing a brief showing of the players and their offseason work is a reminder that basketball season is very nearly upon us.

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