Indiana basketball back on the map
Hoosier hysteria was back in Bloomington on Saturday. Christian Watford hit an incredible trifecta at the buzzer to give the Hoosiers a big-time win over No. 1 Kentucky.
The atmosphere there was unreal, as I felt the building shaking after Watford hit the shot. I salute the police for holding back the crowd and protecting us during the wild celebration. It really was a special game and an incredible ending.
It was a win that gives tremendous momentum to the program. It was a battle of two schools with proud traditions, and a huge win for the Hoosiers. It was Indiana's first victory over a No. 1 team since 2002, when it beat Duke.
Indiana coach Tom Crean has been talking about rebuilding the program through recruiting and hard work. Now he has a signature win to show that the Hoosiers are back in the national spotlight. Fans clad in red had a reason to show faith when Indiana had a double-figure lead in the second half against the Wildcats.
Then Indiana had a stretch of about four minutes in which getting the ball inside to Cody Zeller became a lost art. Indiana failed to take advantage of Anthony Davis' four fouls, and suddenly John Calipari's team took advantage and climbed back into the contest.
Kentucky had a late lead but failed to convert key free throws. Davis missed the front end of a one-and-one. Doron Lamb also missed a critical free throw. Near the end of the game, the Cats had an opportunity to foul because the Hoosiers would not have been in the bonus situation. That foul never came, and Watford hit his dramatic shot.
Also strange was the fact that Terrence Jones, an All-Solid Gold first-team pick in the preseason, was invisible on the glass for much of the game. He was not a factor scoring, either, and Calipari rewarded the performance with a seat on the bench for the final few minutes in winning time. It showed me that Jones was not being aggressive enough, and he paid the price he deserved.
The bottom line is Crean, in his fourth season at Indiana, got the type of victory that puts Indiana back on the national map. The trifecta was a big factor as Indiana built up its lead. Then it was a Maalox Masher until Watford hit a shot that will be remembered for years.
After three seasons below .500, this was a breakthrough W! It was a magical moment that fans in Bloomington had waited years for. It was truly special to witness such a great game.
For Big Blue nation, it was a learning experience and one which will make the team better in the long run. For fans who were critical of the loss: Remember, it was just one game. Calipari will have his team get better and better as the season progresses.
For one special day, Hoosier hysteria went wild, baby!
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