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December 9, 2011
Teague ready for harsh homecoming at Indiana
RELATED CONTENT: IU-UK MATCHUPS, PREDICTIONSThere were teachers with Indiana Hoosiers posters on the wall. There were kids in the hall with advice for Marquis Teague.
When Kentucky's freshman point guard was a senior at Pike High School in Indianapolis last season, he'd made plans to play his college basketball out of state, and that move wasn't met with widespread approval.
"A lot of kids at my high school were telling me to go to IU and things like that," Teague said Friday. "And just people when I walked around the city (were saying), 'Why didn't you go to IU? Change your mind.' Things like that."
Hoosier fans will get another chance to say those things - and maybe some less pleasant ones - on Saturday, when Teague and No. 1 Kentucky (8-0) visit Bloomington, Ind., for a rivalry renewal with Indiana (8-0) at 5:15 p.m.
"I'm going to get a lot of boos," Teague said. "I already know. They did it to me at (the Kentucky-Indiana) All-Star game, so I'm prepared for that. It don't bother me. I try not to listen to it."
Tuning out the Indiana volume is a sound approach for Teague.
Though he's likely to be the primary target, Teague will be in good company. Hoosiers fans have been waiting years for a statement game of this magnitude, and they've been counting down the days this week for a chance to voice their displeasure with the Wildcats.
Running a team in that turmoil wouldn't be easy for a veteran. Teague will try to do it in his ninth college game.
"It's going to be hard," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "It's going to be a tough challenge. You don't want to get in the back-and-forth, 'He scored on me, now I'm scoring on him.' You can't do that. Not in these kind of games. And it's all going to be new to him. It's his first time (playing) in that building, it's (his) first time on a true road game. It's going to be hard."
Teague figures to be an unpopular figure in Bloomington.But he considered a collegiate path that would have made him a home-state favorite.
Hoosiers coach Tom Crean was a regular at Pike games, Teague said, and also followed the point guard on the AAU circuit, and especially early in his recruitment, Teague said he strongly considered playing for Indiana, which is less than an hour's drive from Indianapolis.
"I looked at them real serious," Teague said. "It was one of my first offers and, you know, it's right there. I lived right by it, so I was there a lot, got to see a lot of games. I thought about going there a lot."
It would have been the path of least resistance. There were teachers at Pike, Teague said, who rooted for the Hoosiers and for Purdue, and fans all over the state hoping he'd stay home.
And if he opted to leave, UK wouldn't have been most Hoosier fans' first choice for Teague.
"I never really looked at (UK) as a rival until I got to high school," Teague said. "When my brother (Jeff) played in the Indiana (vs. Kentucky) All-Star Game, I figured out how big of a rival it was. But I never really hated Kentucky or anything like that."
Ultimately, he chose to play for the Cats. While that generated some disappointment in Indianapolis, it created something more severe in cyberspace. Teague said he got "hate" messages on Twitter and Facebook.
"It bothered me," Teague said. "I talked to my dad about it a little bit. But now I'm used to it, I've seen so much of it. I laugh at it and ignore it. Just get ready to play."