Triumphant return to Michigan for Max

The sub-plot to the Hoosiers’ impressive 80-67 win on the road at Michigan Tuesday night was the return of grad transfer Max Bielfeldt to his old stomping grounds.

Despite having a year of eligibility left, Bielfeldt was essentially kicked to the curb by the Wolverines, which couldn’t have worked out better for Indiana in the wake of Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Devin Davis and Emmitt Holt all being dismissed from the IU team.

So one team’s trash turned into another team’s treasure, but that didn’t make the whole situation any less bizarre on Tuesday for Bielfeldt, who was the first Hoosier out of the locker room and onto the court just under an hour before tipoff.

“I was the first one out, and I heard a couple boos, and I’m like, ‘Oh, boy,'” Bielfeldt said. “Then the cheers kind of overwhelmed that, so that was kind of nice.”

Outside of those initial boos, the crowd was clearly on Bielfeldt’s side, erupting with cheers in spite of themselves when his first shot — a corner 3 fittingly enough as he has made more 3s as a Hoosier (13) than as a Wolverine (11) — found the bottom of the net.

His former teammates greeted Bielfeldt warmly as well, almost all of them exchanging handshakes or hugs pregame.

“Walking down here going to the visitor’s locker room is weird,” Bielfeldt said. “I got out there and saw all the guys, got my adrenaline pumping. It was definitely a unique experience. I tried to calm down a little bit before the game, go back to myself because I’m not the crazy, energetic guy all the time. I love all those guys we’re playing against, just happy we got the win.”

And getting the win was the ultimate payoff, despite a 2-of-8 shooting night for Bielfeldt, who was more than happy to let his teammates do the scoring. But Bielfeldt was on the floor when Indiana surged, accumulating a plus-25 in the first half and grabbing seven rebounds for the game.

“Just getting the win was so awesome here. We played an incredible team game together,” he said. “Everyone brought something different. It was so much fun to be out there, Just the energy was great.”

In a season he knows will be his last, Bielfeldt is most excited about the potential that such a win shows for Indiana’s future.

“This is a good win for us to get things going,” he said. “The great thing is we’ve gotten better. The games we’ve got coming up against the guys at the top of the conference ranked right now, this is a great win for us to get our confidence up.”

One comment

  1. Max has been a great find for this team! Season wouldn’t be the same without him. Hopefully they can keep it up…

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