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Usually a solid backing

Boy, is this a great day of sports or what?

OK, just had to let that out real quick. Back to what you came for:

When the Hoosiers have traveled to Welsh-Ryan Arena as of late, it's been a homecoming of sorts for the large IU alumni base in and around Chicago. The arena is pretty small to begin with - a capacity of just 8,117 - but Hoosier fans usually fill a good amount of those seats.

And they like to make noise.

This video from 2007, a 69-65 victory for the Hoosiers, gives you a good idea of what I mean.

"It will be an excellent atmosphere and a different type of crowd than we are used to on the road," Indiana coach Tom Crean said in a press release. "These are the type of Hoosier fans who may not see us in person that often and they bring a tremendous energy to our team."

But as the Hoosiers found out Thursday night against Purdue, a crowd in your favor doesn't mean anything on the court.

"We have to play with a mindset that is geared on toughness," Crean said. "We have to rebound, we have to get all the 50-50 loose balls, and most importantly, we can not turn the ball over in situations that lead to easy baskets. We have to trust one another on offense and make the extra pass."

Who wants to dance?

If you read my preview of today's game, you know of Northwestern's bubble situation. In my opinion, they notched a pretty solid win for the committee when they beat Illinois a couple weeks back. After last night, that win looks even better. The Illini knocked off #5 Kalin Lucas-less Michigan State, 78-73, inside Assembly Hall in Champaign.

Crean knows the Wildcats are playing for a spot come March.

"We expect to see a team that is playing for a great deal and plays with confidence at home," he said.

_______

Plan your exit strategies for after the game...everyone will be in a rush to watch some game dubbed Super Bowl XLIV.

We're about an hour and 25 minutes from tipoff and a little over five hours before kickoff.

Enjoy the games.

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