No life at the Indiana postgame party
by Bob Kravitz, USA TODAY Sports
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — We saw the oddest tableau after No. 13 Ohio State knocked off No. 2 Indiana Tuesday night at Assembly Hall.
After the three Hoosiers seniors spoke from the heart on Senior Night, the team was presented with the Big Ten trophy as co-winners (at least) of the conference. Then players donned Big Ten championship hats and shirts, and with most of the crowd having left Assembly Hall, remained on the floor and cut down the nets on both ends of the floor.
Has a more depressed group ever cut down the nets at game’s end? Their dour faces told the story. None of them was enjoying the moment, hard as they might have tried. Not after this.
“This is the epitome of bittersweet, as far as I can tell,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “We’re trying to celebrate what these guys have earned, and at the same time, we didn’t earn it tonight. We didn’t earn it tonight.”
And it was the right call, even if it seemed incongruous. A Big Ten championship, whether shared or outright, is a significant milestone. Especially after what this program has been through, and where it started. It just seemed odd, and forced, an hour or two after a devastating 67-58 loss.
“There was no question we were going to do that,” Crean said of the post-Senior-Night net-cutting. “These guys earned that. I have a responsibility to them. We’re going to hang our own banner up there, and eventually we’re going to individualize them. Guys have worked to the point where they have earned it. They’ve come in here and looked at those banners every day and now they’re going to get a chance to hang one. Once Sunday came, that was a given.”
Tuesday night, they came for a coronation.
They came for a chance to celebrate an outright Big Ten title, the first for IU since … [For more on No life at the Indiana postgame party, click here.]