Hoosier coach says team affected by rumors

Updated: February 13, 2006, 10:35 PM ET
ESPN.com

Indiana head coach Mike Davis said Monday that a segment of Hoosiers fans want someone with closer ties to the school to be the program's coach.

Indiana needs to have one of their own. They need to have somebody that's played here so they can embrace him.
Mike Davis

"Indiana needs to have one of their own," Davis said during a Big Ten weekly media conference call. "They need to have somebody that's played here so they can embrace him. They need that.

"I'm not upset about it, not disappointed about it," said Davis, who graduated from Alabama and replaced Bob Knight in 2000. "I think they need that. I really do, because these players deserve better."

Davis has been critical of Indiana fans who are calling for his ouster. A group of them wore black shirts to Saturday's game in Bloomington against Iowa, in which Indiana lost 70-67 to fall to 5-5 in the Big Ten and 13-8 overall.

Mike Davis
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesPressure on Mike Davis has heated up again as fans go on the radio, write letters to newspapers and post Internet messages seeking his ouster.

"Like I said before, it's going to affect ... people involved," Davis said. "They want our guys to play through it, but how can they?"

Davis told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Saturday that disgruntled fans are affecting his team's performance. He missed Saturday's game because of the flu.

Davis did not appear on his weekly radio show Monday -- the second time in three days he did not make a public appearance -- but did call in, saying he attended Monday's practice, "got a little excited, and had a setback" that required him to visit his doctor.

"We were one game out of first and that's what happens?" Davis said Saturday. "You can say what you want to me, but that affects the guys. I watched [Saturday's] second half and you could see we were playing with no energy. It's really a shame. They have no idea what they've done to the players."

He kept up with the theme on Monday.

"I know a lot of teams around the country that have been happy to be one game out of first and ranked in the country," said Davis, whose Hoosiers fell two games out of the Big Ten lead and out of the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 with their loss to Iowa. "But it's really taken effect on our players. Not just this year, but every year I've been here."

Davis is in his sixth season at Indiana. In his second year, he took the Hoosiers to the national title game against Maryland. The team has missed the NCAA Tournament the past two years, however.

"It's been a tough thing for six years," he said. "The ones who are affected more by it are the players. If they really care about the coach and want to do well for the coach, it's going to affect them."

Indiana plays at Penn State on Wednesday and at Illinois (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) on Sunday.

"You can just see it in their faces," Davis said. "It's not the same team. Because we lost one game or two games on the road and it was like the end of the year. When you think about that, it doesn't make sense. At all."

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