1. Indiana proved it can win a game against a top-5 opponent, even when its two most important players are struggling.
Yogi Ferrell couldn't find his shot for most of the game. Thomas Bryant was in foul trouble throughout and spent long stretches on the bench. It didn't matter for the Hoosiers, who found contributions from all over the roster. While Iowa's bench didn't score a single point on the evening, the Hoosier bench came up with 28. Harrison Niego and Nick Zeisloft - who went to the same high school in the Chicago burbs - made some key plays to guide the Hoosiers during the big first half lead. Robert Johnson found his shot for most of the night. Colin Hartman had a dunk to ice the game with 20 seconds remaining. And Troy Williams - whose #elite status is debated as much as Joe Flacco's is - swished in a rainbow with time running out on the shot clock as the game hit the final minute.
The big knock on this team - even after the road win statement at Michigan last week - was that they still didn't have any wins against a top opponent. Indiana answered the bell tonight, and with a month until Selection Sunday, the Hoosiers sit at 20-5, with already as many wins this season as they did throughout all of last season.
2. The Hoosiers showed toughness, especially in winning time down the stretch.
Okay, so that header is cliche as all getout. But sometimes, these cliches make the most sense. Indiana had a 16-point lead midway through the first half, and everything was falling. Then the Hawkeyes went on an 18-9 run to cut the lead to seven at the half. The Hoosiers went cold to start the second, Jarrod Uthoff caught fire for Iowa and had a massive dunk, and all of the sudden, Iowa was up and it looked like the game was about to spin out of control. Suddenly, Indiana tightened up on defense, was able to get to the basket again, and got the game back to their pace. And in the game's waning moments, Indiana maintained their lead and came up with enough shots to put the game away. And Yogi, despite having a bit of an off night, still finished in double figures and provided the necessary leadership as the clock was ticking, as seen when he helped get the ball to Hartman for the dunk in the final minute. The defense for Indiana wasn't great in this one (1.22 PPP), but Iowa is a one of the best teams in the country on offense, and the Hoosiers did just enough to neutralize them.
The crowd certainly helped as well. Except for a brief moment at the beginning of the second half, the energy levels in Assembly Hall were fantastic. As I've said before, play every game in this building on a Thursday night at 9pm.
3. Indiana is once again tied for first place in the Big Ten, and it's a three-horse race for the conference again.
In my weekly conference power rankings, not only did I knock IU to the second tier, but I also said Iowa had the chance to run the table and be the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The latter may still happen, but for now, Indiana is tied for first at 10-2 with Iowa and Maryland as the final third of conference play approaches. It's still anyone's B1G to take - right now, IU and Maryland both hold tiebreakers over Iowa; however, the Hawkeyes have an easier road than the Terps or the Hoosiers. Regardless, it's shaping up to be an exciting ending to conference play.
Next up for the Hoosiers? At Sparty on Sunday at 1pm on CBS, as Crean faces his mentor in a building where IU has won only once in 25 years.
4. Here is a vine of Tom Crean, set to Pony.
Sweet dreams, y'all.