Three wins vs. top 5 teams? That’s the Indiana we expect


Indiana hadn’t beaten three top 5 teams in the same season since Bob Knight’s famed ’76 squad – the last college basketball team to finish a season unbeaten – did it.

Tuesday night’s 70-55 win against Michigan State matched that in a big way.

Not only was it the Hoosiers toppling another powerhouse (Kentucky and Ohio State previously), but it was the largest margin of defeat the No. 5 Spartans had suffered all season. And it wasn’t even Senior Night. That’s Sunday vs. in-state rival Purdue.

That’s an exciting thought to Hoosier Nation and the players who’ve been waiting for a season like this.

“That’s something they can all take with them,” coach Tom Crean told Bob Kravitz. “That’s remarkable considering where we’ve been.

“The thing I’m most proud of is we continue to get better. Every one of them have earned it. There’s been nothing handed to them, nothing given to them, nothing bestowed upon them. They haven’t been entitled, just continue to improve within the program. They’re living proof of what happens when you persevere, when you deal with adversity, lock yourself in the gym and just make yourself better.”

The next move for Indiana (23-7, 10-7 in Big Ten) is to stop having these kinds of wins be upsets.

A program with five NCAA tournament champion banners hanging from the rafters doesn’t want to the be the underdog. They want to win top 5 showdowns. But that’s still another year away, maybe two.

For now, Crean’s team can focus on the NCAA tournament and ensuring the inconsistency that’s plagued them during Big Ten play – losses to Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa? – don’t pop up during this year’s NCAA tournament.

The Hoosiers can make the Sweet 16. They’ve shown as much. If they play like they do at home, they could go much further.

There’s a thought to excite the fan base even more.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.