DES MOINES, Iowa (March 16, 2016)– Wednesday afternoon the Hoosiers took the court at Wells Fargo Arena to prepare for the Chattanooga Mocs, a 12th seeded opponent that they are certainly not taking lightly, nor should they.
The Southern Conference champions are a battle tested group, full of an experienced roster and an impressive resume. The Mocs have five losses to their name, with their most impressive wins coming against Illinois, Georgia and Dayton.
Senior Max Biefeldt knows the danger of taking the underdog lightly, as he has seen what 12 seeds can historically do to 5 seeds in the tournament.
“The 12 seed is sometimes the team that ends up wanting it more because some of the 5 seeds just aren’t completely ready,” the senior said before practice Wednesday afternoon. “So we are doing everything we can to focus on Chattanooga.”
“I expect them to press us the entire game,” Yogi Ferrell said on Wednesday. “They are definitely one of the longer teams that we’ve played. We’ve never played a team like them with their type of pressure and their type of length.”
The respect from the Hoosiers for their first round opponent is evident, as they seem to fully understand that the Mocs aren’t scared of a higher seeded opponent.
“They’re a talented well coached team. Watching the film, they just get after it,” Thomas Bryant noted. “They don’t care who the team is.”
Another theme that was prominent in the Indiana lockeroom on Thursday, was the chip the Hoosiers feel they have carried on their shoulder all season, a chip that should be especially heavy after receiving a 5 seed.
Tom Crean stated on selection Sunday in an interview with Indy Sports Central, that he didn’t feel as if the seeding reflected their season, sighting the fact that Indiana won the Big Ten Title outright.
So Thursday evening, the Hoosiers may feel as if they have something to prove, as they have felt all season.
“I feel like we’ve been playing with a chip all year,” Ferrell said. “I feel like it’s because of us not playing well in Maui and not playing up to our expectations.”
Thomas Bryant echoed his senior teammate’s thoughts. “We have always had a chip, ever since the season started, but the seeding is the seeding, we just take it and go along with,” the freshman said.
So tomorrow, the Hoosiers will “go along” with their seeding, and face a Chattanooga team that is unafraid of the challenge.
Indiana and the Mocs tip off at 7:10 eastern time, on Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.