IU fans have known NCAA championships, Final Four appearances, undefeated seasons, and Big Ten titles galore. No, I'm not going to say anything stupid. I'm not going to suggest that Indiana's 74-64 win over Pitt at Madison Square Garden in any way compares to the accomplishments above. Still, in terms of sheer cathartic relief, it's hard to recall many more satisfying, or maybe relieving is the right word, regular season wins. This one comes with a number of caveats: this isn't the Pitt of the last eight seasons; IU seemed to get "the bounces" during this game; after expanding the lead to 17, it shrunk to 6, and the ball handling after the final TV timeout looked like that of the 2008-09 Hoosiers. Still, on a neutral court, against a top-notch program with an excellent coach, IU played hard and smart for the vast majority of the 40 minutes and clearly was the better team, at least tonight. This team appears to be coming together, and while a sub-.500 season may be in the cards, Big Ten teams that expect IU to be an automatic win might reconsider for now.
I'll post more tomorrow about the game. For now, let's savor the best win of the Crean era so far.