Indiana Basketball: Senior duo stepping up when needed most

Indiana basketball was looking at another season without an NCAA Tournament berth, but it was De’Ron Davis and Devonte Green stepping up at the right time.

The Indiana basketball program was on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble a few weeks ago. The Hoosiers were looking at a fourth straight season without dancing in March and becoming the first senior class to never make an NCAA Tournament appearance since the mid-’70s.

Just like that, four games later and Indiana is sitting firmly in the NCAA Tournament field with wiggle room if need be. Why? Because of the same senior class that doesn’t even know what the NCAA Tournament feels like.

Heavily criticized throughout the majority of their careers, Devonte Green and De’Ron Davis have not always lived up to expectations. Whether it be injuries that derailed Davis’ career, or inconsistent play from Green that has frustrated fans, neither has had the four years they thought when they arrived in Bloomington.

Now, that duo is playing some of the best basketball of their careers and have been two of the main reasons for Indiana’s 3-1 record over the past two weeks.

Not with eye-popping numbers, but fans have seen a rejuvenated De’Ron Davis over the past four games, highlighted by his career-high 18 points on 9-of-9 shooting, albeit in a loss to Michigan. While it’s not something anyone figured he would keep up, it is the small things he is doing that has provided the Hoosiers with needed energy and toughness in the paint.

In the last four games, Davis is averaging 7.0 points in 12.8 minutes per game, and it is the first time all season he has seen double-digit minutes in more than two straight games.

Davis is not meant to be a scorer for this team, but his underappreciated leadership at times has given the Hoosiers hope. Whether it be a tough rebound, a hard foul, a great pass or just a screen, Davis is giving the Hoosiers everything he has.

For his counterpart, Devonte Green, it has been a wild ride. An energizer bunny off of the bench for his first three seasons, Green was expected to be that guy for the Hoosiers as a senior. Early on, it looked as if he would play that role. As the season went on, however, Green showed the inconsistencies that have plagued him for his entire career.

In the past couple of weeks, Green has found his game and found his way within the offense. Averaging 12.8 points per game, Green has shot the three at 48.3 percent and has hit big shots when needed.

What has changed, although he can still force shots at times, is letting the offense come to him and is getting his points in the flow of the offense. Green has oftentimes tried to take over the game but he has learned that in order for this team to be successful, he doesn’t need to do that.

The senior duo is so close to feeling the energy and excitement that comes with the NCAA Tournament, and while they haven’t done so before, they are playing like someone who knows all too well what it takes to get there.