You always here coaches say that players should act like they have been there before.
The same should apply to one of the most storied college basketball programs in the nation.
The Indiana Hoosiers have won championships in the past. Five to be exact. They have been to their fair share of NCAA tournaments and have have won their fair share of games in those tournaments.’
So for the Hoosiers to decide to hand out rings to the players for the team’s appearance in the Sweet 16 a year ago makes no sense at all.
You don’t hand out Sweet 16 rings at a program accustomed to winning. You don’t hand out Sweet 16 rings to a program that plays for a fan base that expects its team to not only compete for a national title, but to win it.
I could understand if we were talking about some school with no history of success deciding to celebrate its Sweet 16 trip with rings. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime deal for that type of school.
But at Indiana, where expectations are high and the tradition of basketball success is rich, there is no need for players to get Sweet 16 rings. I’m pretty sure no one signs up to play for the Hoosiers because they want to just play in the Sweet 16.
The Hoosiers enter this year as the No. 1 team in the nation and are poised for a championship run.
Head coach Tom Crean has done a great job of reviving the once-proud program and he has a team loaded with talent, a team that includes potential national player of the year candidate Cody Zeller.
Make no mistake, Indiana was a good team last year that had a good season. The Hoosiers took a big step forward and set the stage for a season in which they could get rings for the right reason —- winning a national title.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.