I went to an IPFW basketball game last night and a house of mirrors broke out.
It was the Mastodons against Jacksonville, Tony Jasick bringing his new team home to play his old team, and it was nothing you hadn't seen. The two teams ran all the same stuff at one another, to the extent that IPFW coach Jon Coffman -- Jasick's former right-hand man -- was shouting out Jacksonville sets to his team before they actually developed. And Jasick was no doubt doing the same on his end of things.
In the end, the difference was that IPFW was simply the more advanced version, winning 89-71 in a game it could have easily won by 30 or 40 had Coffman not shown such obvious unwillingness to step on Jasick's throat. Instead, he played 13 players, 11 of them at least eight minutes.
Afterward, Jasick's speech to his team went roughly like this: Welcome to the future.
"I told our team, 'What we just played against is what we're going to look like in time'," Jasick said as he and Coffman sat side by side in the postgame.
"I told him, 'You just beat yourself'," he said, a reference to that fact that so much of what IPFW was last night, from a personnel standpoint and otherwise, was what Jasick built.
There are differences, of course. The IPFW team on display last night tends to push the ball slightly more aggressively, and it's slightly deeper in the backcourt than last year's historic 25-win team. Mo Evans and Isaiah McCray are going to be a handful to deal with for anyone, and the Mastodons don't lose very much when Michael Calder and Max Landis enter the game.
Landis scored nine points and had an assist in 23 minutes last night. Calder had eight points, four rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes. Evans and McCray, meanwhile, combined for 27 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, with McCray going for 16, 10 and four.
Gonna be another fun year.