It will be Knight’s first time breaking down the Hoosiers during a game as an ESPN analyst. He was part of the studio crew for a previous Indiana game at Madison Square Garden, but didn’t call the actual game.
If you’re Indiana, this is a big deal. Knight had to sign off on this, perhaps signaling he is ready to reconcile with the school. It’ll be interesting to see how Shulman draws him out about Indiana.
Veteran Knight watcher, Rick Bozich, wrote at WDRB.com in Louisville:
Knight-ologists will be breaking down the telecast like the Zapruder film, trying to determine if Knight’s decision to work the game signals a legitimate thaw in the icy relations that have existed between the coach and IU in the dozen years after he was fired.
I don’t expect to see Knight in Assembly Hall this season, but this is a small step in closing the massive divide. If Knight’s only thoughts about IU were ugly and adversarial, he wouldn’t be working this game. He’d find a way to avoid IU again.
And one wise person who knows Knight well told me this several years ago: Bob Knight will make peace with Indiana when IU is back on top and he isn’t.
Terry Hutchens of Indystar.com writes:
Now, for all of you out there that are reading into this that because Knight is doing an IU game that it means he’s ready to ride on his white horse (with a red sweater probably) back to Bloomington and become part of the Indiana family again, I would say this: Relax, take a deep breath, calm yourself and don’t get carried away here. It’s one game, and it’s one game predicated by the fact that Indiana is the No. 1 team in the nation. It was the preseason No. 1 team in the land for the first time since the 1979-80 team that Knight coached for the Hoosiers.
Could it be a first step to repairing relations? Maybe. But if I was someone at IU and hoping that would be the ultimate outcome here, I would have my doubts. It’s one game. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Hutchens then wrote of his last encounter with Knight:
Selfishly, I’m looking forward to see if he shakes my hand. I covered coach Knight his final two seasons at Indiana and he would actually had a pretty good professional relationship. But the last time I went to one of his speaking engagements where he met a receiving line afterwards and shook hands with former players and all of the old cronies, I decided to get in line and see if he acknowledge my presence. As he walked down the line, he shook hand after hand. He paused at the gentleman to my left and gave him a warm embrace. Then he looked at me. We made brief contact and … he kept right on walking and shook the hand of the person to my right. So I’m looking forward to seeing if I have any better luck Monday.