Every team is going to give the Indiana Hoosiers its best shot. It comes with the territory of being the top-ranked team in the country.
Tuesday night in Brooklyn, the Hoosiers were tested, pushed to the limit by the Georgetown Hoyas in a thrilling early-season non-conference showdown.
Indiana seemed destined to seal the deal in regulation, leading 61-54 with 2:01 to go but the Hoyas battled back, tying the score at 64 and sending the game into overtime. But the Hoosiers did what great teams are supposed to when the pressure begins to rise and that is make plays when it matters most.
Indiana outscored Georgetown 18-8 in the extra session to secure an 82-72 win in the championship game of the Legends Classic. Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls poured in 17 points apiece. Yogi Ferrell came through with 14, including seven in OT.
“Our guys just went out and played a high-level team in a high-level way,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said in a post-game press conference. “It’s a program win for us. A program championship for us.”
Indeed, it is a championship, the first of many the Hoosiers hope to win this season.
The Hoosiers are good. You don’t get to 5-0 by accident. But what we need to keep in mind is that there isn’t one dominant team in college basketball.
Indiana is going to have its tough nights, nights where it looks mortal and ends up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Other nationally ranked teams will deal with the same thing.
The key is finding ways to bounce back and finding ways to play at a high level when it matters most.
The Hoosiers have the ability to be that kind of team. They proved it against the Hoyas and they will have to prove it again if they want to reach their ultimate goal of 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.