BLOOMINGTON — Indiana will honor the 40-year anniversary of its 1980 Big Ten men’s basketball championship team at halftime of its game against Purdue on Saturday at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The 1980 team, picked No. 1 in the preseason by Sports Illustrated, finished 21-8 and won its final six league games to claim the conference title. Senior All-American and Big Ten player of the year Mike Woodson returned from back surgery to spark IU’s late-season push.
Junior point guard Isiah Thomas helped lead IU to a national championship in 1981 and went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Pistons, leading the team to back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. The team featured several other future NBA players, including Woodson, swingman Randy Wittman and Anderson native and former Madison Heights standout Ray Tolbert.
Indiana (15-7, 5-6 Big Ten) is looking to snap a three-game losing streak in hosting the rival Boilermakers (13-10, 6-6), who are coming off making a season-high 19 3-pointers in a 104-68 win over No. 17 Iowa on Wednesday night at Mackey Arena.
WALKER IN TRANSFER PORTAL
According to multiple reports, Indiana redshirt sophomore running back Ronnie Walker Jr. has entered the transfer portal.
The 5-foot-11, 211-pound rusher, from Hopewell, Va., was used primarily as a third-down back last season and was effective picking up blitzes as a blocker and catching the ball out of the backfield. Walker finished the 2019 season with 12 catches for 112 yards and one receiving TD and 27 carries for 80 yards.
Walker’s departure leaves rising junior Stevie Scott III, rising sophomore Sampson James and incoming freshman Tim Baldwin Jr. as the three scholarship running backs on IU’s roster. Walk-on running back Ahrod Lloyd is entering his junior season and was counted on more out of the backfield as last season progressed due to his strength and blocking ability.