Magic Johnson doesn’t generally muddle up a broadcast with startling insights – my kingdom for Dan Dakich on the call -- but he had one cogent observation about Indiana during the No. 1-ranked Hoosiers’ 72-68 victory over No. 4 Michigan State.
“Watching Indiana up close,’’ he said, “this team will be the favorite to win the national championship.’’
Mind you, nothing has been accomplished yet. And it’s not like the Big Ten regular-season title is already in the bag, not with tough road games at Minnesota and Michigan and a home game against Ohio State. But in a season infused with parity, a season when nobody has stuck around the No. 1 spot for more than five minutes, IU has started to separate itself from the rest of the field --- first with the win at then-No. 10 Ohio State and here against Michigan State.
They are the best team in the best league in the country, a league that Johnson believes is having its strongest year since he played in the Big Ten in the late 1970’s.