The series with Kansas represents Mike Woodson’s ambition to bring Indiana back to the national stage-inside the hall. – NBA Sports

The tone of his voice upset Mike Woodson a bit. There’s nothing terrible, but it’s still a little frustrating. This was Sunday after Indiana defeated Melimac, and Woodson wasn’t asked about the game, but how the overwhelming unconference schedule for the season was put together.

“The schedule is what it is,” Woodson shook his head. “Thanks to AD, I came here blindly as a head coach. The schedule is almost fixed. So hey, the schedule is what it is. It can be a simple schedule or a difficult schedule. But the schedule is decent. We need to play it. “

But now, criticisms of future soft non-conference schedules Announcement that came on Tuesday.. Indiana and Kansas have agreed on a Home and Home series starting next season. Hoosiers will move to Allen Fieldhouse in December 2022. Jayhawks will move to the Assembly Hall in December 2023.

On the surface, this is a series of two of the most decorated programs in the history of college basketball. They have joined for eight NCAA Championships and 23 Final Four appearances. Among them, the NCAA tournament game has more historical significance. Two of Indiana’s five national championships opposed Kansas in 1940 and 1953. In 1991, Kansas defeated the IU in the NCAA semifinals and won again in the NCAA semifinals two years later.

But that’s a thing of the past. For Indiana, the meaning of this newly created series is more important than the historic festival. This means Woodson’s ambition to take the necessary steps to help Indiana return to national relevance.

To be honest, this is the type of match that Indiana has been needing for some time. But one of the reasons Indiana didn’t do that is Crossroads Classic.

Crossroads Classic is four of the biggest programs, Indiana, Padu, Notre Dame and Butler, and started in 2011 as the coronation of a basketball-obsessed region. These games were very important locally. Some players who once belonged to the same AAU team are now playing against each other. The result served as a concrete bragging right for the fans.

But ten years later, the event ran the course. Indiana is 7-3 overall, the best in the group. It also lacks national relevance. There was nothing about Crossroads Classic that allowed Indiana to continue building its national brand. The fact that Indiana was trapped in this event was also forced to deprive a larger audience of more attractive opportunities. Indiana has refused the opportunity to attend the national event CBS Sports Classic, alongside UNC, UCLA and Kentucky, for the Crossroads Classic.

Over the years, programs such as Duke, Kansas, Michigan, and Kentucky have jumped into the Champions Classic and are now the first hint of the college basketball season. In the meantime, IU did not schedule a national headlining match of the same weight, whether it was due to a lack of attempt or not. To some extent, the Big Ten-ACC Challenge makes it possible, but Indiana has no control over the match.

However, this season will be the last of the Crossroads Classic, and you will be able to schedule a series with Kansas in Indiana.

Woodson made it clear that he wanted to return to playing against large caliber opponents early in his tenure. However, I was a little hesitant this season. Woodson has the perspective of knowing that he is a first-year coach, mostly with new coach staff and six new players. It’s incredibly fascinating that Woodson is trying to rebuild a program that once stood at the top of college basketball, jumping into a headlining match that already has a lot of moving parts in the first season. I know it wasn’t.

Woodson said it was mostly set when he took over, which was reflected in this season’s unconference schedule. This season’s Indiana non-conference schedule is full of things like non-major programs like Merrimack, Jackson, UNC-Asheville. More importantly, you can finish your slate even if you aren’t playing a team close to the NCAA tournament rock.

“I like to put the team first before chasing the Big Boy,” Woodson said earlier this spring. “That is, I’m not afraid of competition. I want a competitive team, but if I can, play Kentucky and Kansas, and that kind of team before riding the Big 10. Please come back for.

And now Woodson has fulfilled that promise. Probably faster than expected. The series with Kansas is important for multiple reasons. One is that it is attractive to new employees. Players want to compete on the biggest stage. Playing against Kansas makes that happen.Woodson has already done a lot on the hiring path — two preparations to land a five-star Tamer Bates When Jalen Hood-Sifino Above all — and playing a premier matchup only gives Woodson more reasons on his pitch to come to Indiana.

Moreover, in order for Indiana to achieve Woodson’s vision of maintaining national relevance, they need to defeat a really good team. As a program, Indiana has a lot of history, fan base, facilities, resources and much more, but what’s lacking in recent years is to consistently win big games on the biggest stages. The program’s name recognition is increased not only by winning, but also by taking a difficult schedule to continue to prove itself.

Scheduling a series in Kansas does not mean that Indiana will reach its country’s relevance again. It needs to come from a variety of factors, including victory and participation in top-notch competition.

With an announcement on Tuesday, Woodson is giving Indiana the opportunity to do both on a big stage. And now that’s all he can control.

Submission destination: Mike Woodson

– NBA Sports

The series with Kansas represents Mike Woodson’s ambition to bring Indiana back to the national stage-inside the hall. The series with Kansas represents Mike Woodson’s ambition to bring Indiana back to the national stage-inside the hall.

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