You know, the Indiana Hoosiers, the team that started the year as the No. 1 team in the nation. The team that is expected to win the national championship.
Much of the talk in the Big Ten has centered around Minnesota and Michigan lately, but on Saturday afternoon, the Hoosiers came through with a statement win, beating the Golden Gophers 88-81 in a pivotal Big Ten showdown.
The Hoosiers didn’t make it easy on themselves, letting a 55-29 lead nearly evaporate into a loss,but they still got the job done.
Of course, a win over a nationally ranked opponent isn’t a huge deal for a team that expects so much more before this season is over.
“A year ago, we’d have been ecstatic with that victory and I want them to enjoy it, but we have different expectation levels now,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said in a post-game press conference. “We have a lot of room for improvement. Where it takes the next step is when players understand they can play better, and I think they do.”
So do I, which is why the Big Ten championship still runs through Indiana until further notice. The Hoosiers have won six consecutive games.
And while no one was happy about the effort in the second half, the Hoosiers aren’t too concerned going forward.
“We had a good first half, but we’ve got to come out with the same energy in the second half,” Indiana star Cody Zeller said in a post-game press conference. “I thought the energy dropped off a little bit, but we’ll be all right. A win’s a win in this conference.”
Yes it is. And the win over Minnesota was an important one for Indiana.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.