After a tough, 1-2 beginning to Big Ten play, the Hoosiers needed a win. Struggling and sitting outside of Lunardi’s bracketology, the Hoosiers needed a win. In a conference rivalry that recently included 12 straight losses against Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin squads, the Hoosiers needed a win. Desperately seeking a defining win over a top 25 team to prove their worth to themselves as much as others, the Hoosiers needed a win.
They got it.
After a courageous, nearly improbable 10-point comeback in the second half led by sophomore Yogi Ferrell, the Indiana Hoosiers pulled off an upset of #3 Wisconsin 75-72 on January 14th. As Wisconsin’s attempts to tie the game with 3’s failed and the buzzer sounded, overjoyed Hoosier fans and students rushed the court. They finally had the big win they wanted, over a team they’ve struggled so desperately against for the last decade. Their season had finally hit a high point.
It all sounds much like the plot of a typical sports movie. The team won the big game, everyone celebrated and there was a happy ending. There’s only one problem with all of that: The season isn’t over yet.
Lost in all of the happiness and celebration is the fact that Big Ten conference play is still at its beginning. The Hoosiers still have 14 more games of conference play, along with the conference tournament before March Madness. The Hoosiers are still unranked, still on the bubble for the NCAA tournament and still have troubles with turning the ball over, coughing up the ball and average of 15 times per game in Big Ten play. They still have a lot to play for.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I was as excited as anyone else when they won. I’ve watched this team play since I was little. I’ve sat in the living room watching games on Saturday afternoons and screaming at the tv with my father. I listened to one of the games on their run to the NCAA championship with Mike Davis in a car on the way to Florida for spring break. I jumped up screaming as an entire residence hall went int a frenzy following their buzzer-beater over Kentucky in 2011. These Hoosiers have caused many a celebration. But what people always forget, lost in the moments of these big games, is that there’s another game to play.
I think this win could be huge. The Hoosiers could use this as momentum and have a strong conference season. They could end the year ranked and make the NCAA tournament. They could go on a run and finish strong. There really is no ceiling for this young, talented team. But they could also struggle with inconsistency, keep turning the ball over and finish out the year horribly. One marquee win may not be enough in a year where upsets are as consistent as ranked teams winning like they should. They follow this win up with a game against Northwestern, a team that just beat Illinois. If you can remember, Illinois beat IU recently in Champaigne. What I’m trying to say is this: There’s still a ways to go, and things aren’t going to get any easier. This team still has a lot to prove.
I sure hope they prove themselves to be as good as they looked last night.