It happened. It really happened. The Indiana Hoosiers are your 2016 Big Ten champions. Alone.
Indiana knocks off Iowa on the road to clinch their second Big Ten title in four years behind 20 points from Yogi Ferrell and 15 points from Troy Williams. Saving a couple bigger points for tomorrow's columns, here's three takeaways from tonight's win if I can stop hollerin' and yellin' long enough to write them.
1. There might not be anyone in the country playing better than Indiana right now. As well, maybe. But not better.
For 30-32 minutes, a team that looked to be the Big Ten's best for the majority of the season didn't have an answer for Indiana on their home floor. Indiana seemingly scored at will and stymied Iowa's fast-moving offense, limiting Peter Jok to only 8 points in the contest on 3-of-11 shooting and forcing Jarrod Uthoff to carry a majority of the Hawkeyes' output. But the Hoosiers' offense looked like a hot knife through butter for the first 75% of the contest, making 7 of their first 8 threes and a total of 11 on the contest. That said...
2. Fouls were an issue in this game. Sure, officiating was a factor, but so were the Hoosiers.
If you'd like to have a sole complaint with this Indiana team in this basketball game, it's the foul count. I'm of the belief that you can find a foul if you'd like on 80% of possessions in college basketball, and it's certainly suspect when the foul disparity was what it was in Iowa City Tuesday night. That's also the nature of playing basketball on the road in the Big Ten. There are spots when the Hoosiers, especially early on, could've been more mindful about being overly aggressive in trying to create steals by reaching, hand-checking, and the like. If the Hoosiers want to play deep into March, it's unlikely they could escape in such a contest where stars are in such peril of bowing out due to the 5-foul max. Part of that might have been the guys in black-and-white, but the best way to mitigate that is to not give them an opportunity to call said fouls in the first place.
3. If Juwan Morgan's injury is long-term, it's concerning for Indiana heading into the tournament.
The single dark cloud hanging over Indiana's big win in Iowa City was the late injury to Hoosier freshman post player Juwan Morgan. Inside the final 25 seconds, Morgan locked arms and shoulders with Jarrod Uthoff in what appeared to look similar to Kevin Love's season-ending shoulder injury for which Kelly Olynyk was responsible for in last year's NBA playoffs. Despite how mad you might have been at the time, there's no way to possibly view Uthoff's play as dirty or intentional or anything similar. It was a simple basketball play, two dudes that got their shoulders and arms tangled up jockeying for a rebound late in a Big Ten game. It sucks, but it happens.
Still, it'l be tough for Tom Crean to make the rotation work if it's missing Robert Johnson and Juwan Morgan going forward. Morgan's had past shoulder issues, and the injury looked bad. That said, I'm not a doctor, I'm a dude who watched this game from a television set. I have no idea, nor does anyone else not named Tim Garl or Larry Rink. But with everything clinched, don't be shocked if both miss the Maryland game -- even if they'd ordinarily be able to go.
We'll have more tomorrow on this one. Goodnight y'all. The Indiana Hoosiers are Big Ten Champions.