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No matter the level of national accomplishment, every school's fans have had something to cheer about at some point, but IU is particularly fortunate to have had a number of moments that register not only with IU fans, but with fans of college sports across the nation. Even during the last couple of decades, when IU has been mired in losing seasons in football and has only rarely had a national impact in basketball, the era hasn't been devoid of memorable moments. But I think the choice for IU is obvious:
As I said, every school has its highlights, but Keith Smart's game-winner in the 1987 NCAA title game is one of the iconic highlights in the history of college basketball. Any college basketball fan who was alive and old enough to be paying attention at the time could identify Smart, as could many who weren't born yet. There hasn't yet been a March in which I haven't seen this highlight on CBS, and with IU re-entering the elite echelon of college basketball, we may be seeing it quite a bit in 2013. I can't find the link, but I recall reading an interview with Smart, who has traveled extensively as a professional basketball player and coach, in which he was asked how often he is asked about the shot or is recognized because of it. His answer? "Every day." It's great that IU was a part of such an iconic highlight, and even better that the Hoosiers were on the winning side of it.
There are other candidates, of course. While it's hard to say for certain, I think the Christian Watford shot is going to be a permanent part of IU lore and will not be soon forgotten across college basketball, either.
Of course, a decade ago, IU registered one of the most exciting upsets in school history, knocking off top-ranked and defending champion Duke in the Sweet 16.
I don't want to neglect football, either. One of the best in recent years was in 2007, when Austin Starr's 49-yard field goal gave IU its first Bucket win in 6 years and its first bowl bid in 14 seasons. I have to admit that I'm not as fond of this one as some are. My overriding memory of that day is that with everything on the line, IU blew a 24-3 lead at home against a mediocre Purdue team, and it never should have come down to a field goal. While everyone around me was going crazy, I was slumped over with relief. As I told my relatives after the game, I was already appalled by my poor behavior and lack of sportsmanship at the postgame tailgate and we hadn't even blown the game yet.
Finally, here's the only one that I didn't watch live, but I do remember when this game happened. It's important to remember that however few and far between they have been, wins like this have happened for the football Hoosiers. This clip is worth it just for the emotion in Don Fischer's voice as the clock winds down.
Well, what say you, readers? Which of these is your favorite? Any big ones that I missed?