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The top 10 Indiana games of the 2014-15 season

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All Indiana sports have officially ended for the 2014-15 academic year. With opening kickoff not for another two months and Hoosier Hysteria still about four months away, I figured this was a good time to recap what happened in the past year for Indiana athletics. Here's my list of top 10 games from the past year for the Hoosiers.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

10. Men's basketball defeats SMU, 74-68

Back at the beginning of last season, there was a ton of uncertainty about the Hoosiers. Suspensions to Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson, as well as Devin Davis being involved in a life-threatening incident on Halloween night, left Hoosier fans wondering what was going on with the program. After two meaningless exhibitions and two by-the-numbers games to open the season, No one knew how Indiana's first real test, against a good SMU squad that would go on to be a six-seed in the NCAA Tournament, would go. The game was a back-and-forth affair most of the way, but the Hoosiers pulled away for good near the end, thanks in part to James Blackmon Jr., who lived up to his McDonald's All-American status that night, and 12 total three-pointers from the Hoosiers. The SMU win restored some order in Bloomington, made people forget about the offseason drama, and immediately set high expectations for the season to come.

9. Baseball opens the season with a 4-2 win over Stanford

We all know how the baseball season ended in 2014 - a walk-off by Stanford, who due to weird NCAA regulations was the designated home team at Bart Kaufman Field during the NCAA baseball regionals. Despite losing the coach and several players from that star-studded 2014 team, the Hoosiers still had a chance to extract some revenge when they opened the season in Palo Alto. Casey Rodrigue's seventh-inning two-run home run was the difference in this game, as IU went on to a 4-2 victory. The Hoosiers ended up winning the weekend series, taking just a little bit of the sting out of 2014's disappointing ending.

8. Platform diver Jessica Parratto wins NCAA title

The IU swimming and diving teams don't get a ton of attention on this site, but they do have a long history of success in Bloomington, dating back to when Mark Spitz swam for the Hoosiers and legendary coach Doc Counsilman in the late 1960s. Their success continues today - in 2014, swimmer Brooklynn Snodgrass won the NCAA title in the 200 backstroke, and this past season, Jessica Paratto, a platform diver for the Hoosiers, won a national title. Parratto placed 30 points above her nearest competitor, and helped IU finish 10th nationally as a team. Along with Tevin Coleman, Parratto won the IU Athlete of the Year award this season. And, she is only a freshman, so she'll have plenty of other opportunities to add to her trophy case while at IU.

7. Women's basketball crushes Purdue, 72-55

Puck Furdue

The Hoosiers experienced some growing pains in the first year of Teri Moren's tenure in Bloomington. Up in West Lafayette, Sharon Versyp was having one of her worst seasons as Purdue head coach. Regardless of both teams' struggles, it was IU-Purdue at Assembly Hall, and the Hoosiers were the more motivated team on this night. IU scored the first nine points of the game then never looked back, as Larryn Brooks led the team with 22 points en route to a 72-55 victory. Though Brooks ended up transferring, there's still reason to be optimistic about the women's team, as Moren will have a full offseason in Bloomington, and Tyra Buss will continue to improve as she enters her sophomore season.

6. Baseball comes back to soundly defeat Long Beach State 7-2, setting up postseason push

dirtbag

Indiana's season was on life support in early May. Without a strong finish, there was little chance that the Hoosiers could make their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. However, things started to turn around in the last month of the season. First, the Hoosiers swept Maryland, a team that eventually made Super Regionals. But it was during the second Long Beach State game that the Hoosiers made their strongest statement, winning 7-2 despite getting into a 2-0 hole at the top of the first. Including this win over the Dirtbags, the Hoosiers won six games in a row to end the season, enough to get them back to the tournament in Chris Lemonis's first season as Indiana skipper.

5. Men's basketball defeats Butler in the Crossroads Classic, 82-73

 butler way

In 2012, Butler gave #1 Indiana its first loss of the year on national television, back when the Bulldogs still had Brad Stevens as coach and were in their lone year in the Atlantic 10. Two years later, Butler had a new coach in Chris Holtmann and were now members of the Big East. The Bulldogs had turned from fun underdog story into another major basketball powerhouse in the state. Thus, the winner of this December matchup in Bankers Life Fieldhouse would notch a key non-conference victory, and perhaps more importantly, get some in-state bragging rights. In this game, Troy Williams paced the Hoosiers with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and a second-half rally was too much for the Bulldogs to withstand. As a result, the Hoosiers picked up their first Crossroads victory since 2011 and Tom Crean notched his 300th career win as a head coach. Questions still exist about the long-term feasibility of the Crossroads Classic, but with the event under contract to continue for the next several years, the Hoosiers will have more chances to take on the Bulldogs in the future.

4. Men's soccer defeats #1 Notre Dame, 1-0

The Fighting Irish came into Bloomington last October ranked #1 in the nation to take on the #8 Hoosiers. With a crowd of over 3,000 on hand to watch, Patrick Doody scored the game's lone goal in the 18th minute, and the Hoosiers held off Notre Dame the rest of the way to clinch a 1-0 victory. While Indiana's season ended in disappointment, as Xavier knocked the Hoosiers out of the NCAA tournament in their first game, the Notre Dame victory was a highlight of the season, and proof that Todd Yeagley has continued to follow in his father's footsteps when it comes to building a strong soccer program in Bloomington.

3. Football retains the Old Oaken Bucket

BUCKET

Coming into this game, Indiana was 3-8, had lost six games in a row, and had a true freshman starting at quarterback. Purdue even controlled most of this game, even leading 16-6 at one point. But despite the troubles all season, with the score tied at 16, did anyone really think that the Hoosiers weren't going to score on that final drive in the last minute? It was a cathartic moment for both the team and its fans when Zander Diamont rushed in for the touchdown to give Indiana a 23-16 victory over the Boilermakers, and his cigar-smoking antics in the locker room have provided this blog with months of content. Retaining the Bucket was also huge for Indiana, because it was the first time since 1994 that the team had won the trophy two years in a row. Due to an odd B1G scheduling quirk, Bloomington hosted the past two Bucket games - with the game returning to Ross-Ade Stadium in 2015, will IU be able to make it a three-peat?

2. Men's basketball crushes Maryland, 89-70

BOFA TROY

Or, proof that all Assembly Hall games should be played on Thursdays at 9pm. Everything went right for the Hoosiers that evening, as they left Maryland in the dust thanks to fantastic three-point shooting and a hyped-up, energetic crowd. The Terps came into this game ranked 8th in the country, with only two losses on the season, but after playing the Hoosiers close in the first half, they could not withstand the onslaught that came in the second half. Yogi Ferrell demonstrated why he's this team's leader in this game, draining seven threes and scoring 24 total points. Additionally, this game showed that when the Hoosiers were hitting their shots, they were the most fun college basketball team to watch in the country. Unfortunately, the Maryland blowout masked the team's year-long problems on the defensive side of the ball, and it was also the high point of the season, as the Hoosiers lost 10 of their next 15 to end the year. However, the game began what should become a heated rivalry with the Hoosiers and Terps, and the atmosphere in the building that night demonstrated why Assembly Hall is one of the toughest places for visiting teams to play.

1. Football wins at Missouri on last-minute touchdown, 31-27

MIZ

SEC EAST CHAMPS, Y'ALL.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't the transcending, program-changing victory like I originally thought it would be. However, the Hoosiers' win over Mizzou hinted that perhaps this type of victory could occur sooner rather than later, and reaffirmed my feeling that maybe Kevin Wilson is the guy to make this happen. Yes, maybe the Bucket win had more meaning within the state, and maybe the Maryland basketball game was one of the most fun times I've ever had watching a sporting event. However, the Mizzou team that IU beat here was the same one that crushed the Hoosiers in Bloomington last season, and has now won two SEC East titles despite only being in the conference for three years. As a result, the Missouri victory in Columbia ranks number one for the past season.