It felt like a two-hour long celebration for the Big Ten champions -- and the senior point guard that led them there.
Maryland ran out to an early lead, but it was never terribly competitive in Bloomington. Despite Melo Trimble's best efforts, the Terrapins never got within striking distance again after a furious Indiana run to close the first half. Troy Williams paced the Hoosiers with 23 points and Yogi Ferrell tossed in 17 of his own on Senior Day.
Some quick reaction -- what'd we learn about this Indiana team after another big win in Bloomington on Senior Day?
1. Yogi Ferrell's one of the greatest Hoosiers to ever wear the jersey, and this was the farewell party he deserved.
Indiana hadn't won on Senior Day in nearly four years -- but you could tell how important it was to Tom Crean and this team to get a win for Yogi Ferrell and to validate the Big Ten Championship they'd just clinched in Iowa City. And, today, that's exactly what they did.
Ferrell was fantastic all day, dropping threes in transition, dimes in the lane, and absolutely exhausting my Vine account. First, here's Yogi throwing quite possibly the best pass I've ever seen in a collegiate game back out to Nick Zeisloft for a three.
Then here he is ending Rasheed Suliamon's life.
Here's a play that might become the single most iconic play of his career -- with him sprinting halfway across the court and diving headfirst for a steal whilst up 10 points late in a game.
...and then here's Yogi closing his night with the heat-check to end all heat-checks.
Have a day, dude. Or night. Whatever. You earned it.
2. Indiana's going to have a shot at a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. A 1 is still probably out of the question.
The Hoosiers have been surging up seed lines in bracket projections in recent weeks, so the question for many has been fair. How high can the Hoosiers go? What's the seeding ceiling?
Realistically, there's probably a cap for the Hoosiers. They've got some bad losses and a relatively weak out of conference schedule. The RPI (20th) doesn't love them like KenPom does (9th). That said, this win keeps hope alive to jump to one of those higher seeding lines. ESPN's Joe Lunardi had the Hoosiers as a 3-seed entering Sunday, so a win over another 3-seed in a fairly dominant manner should positively impact Tom Crean's club's profile.
There's room for the Hoosiers to play themselves up to the 2-line, likely, in the NCAA tournament. What would it take? Probably some help from others in the running (Kentucky, Oregon, Utah, Xavier, West Virginia, Oklahoma, etc) or an Indiana appearance in the Big Ten Tournament final. That'd give the Hoosiers another win over Michigan and likely either Iowa or Purdue. No one would shake a stick at a loss in the final -- especially if it's to a Michigan State that seems destined for the top seeding line.
3. There's still work to be done -- and Indiana's playing as well as anyone in the country.
I thought Sunday would go a long way in showing how Indiana would handle the success of winning the Big Ten outright before the last game of the year. It would have been super easy to get caught up in the moment and the hype of the title, and have a letdown against Maryland today.
That was far from the case.
Doing my best to look at this objectively, there are few teams, if any, in the country playing better than Indiana right now. Kansas looks great, as does Michigan State, as does Virginia. Over the course of the past couple weeks, Indiana's been right there with that group. That can all change in the matter of the next couple weeks, but Indiana looks like a team that's clicking on all cylinders. The ball movement's fantastic. The chemistry's fantastic. And when they're making shots from outside, there are few teams if any that can beat the Hoosiers right now.